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DarkShadow

Lucif

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-Lucif-

By DarkShadow

Prologue

My screams have buffeted these walls so loudly and for so long, I don’t know if the echoes are old or new anymore.

We Slegna do not die. We were here when the Earth was only a spiral of dust. My mother is the first. We call her that because none came before her. It is my fault you call us Angels. I must admit, that I fall short of the misconceptions and lies I created regarding the religions. We are Slegna, not Angels, and my father is the one I had you name God. Save your prayers and wishes, however, my mother has encased him in crystal until he has given Asher and myself his precious forgiveness. It’s been over two thousand years and I have yet to receive it.

I am Lucif, the first to fall from Haven, and am quite literally insane. The agony of time has driven me to it. I never realized that existing could be such exquisite horror as these past few decades have been.

I was betrayed by my own creations. These ‘Vampires’ you hear so much of turned on me. The iron spikes were driven into my eyes too long ago to remember, and since that time I have known nothing but pain.

My vampires have milked me for blood like a blinded cow for decades. They have become drunk on my essence and are now quite powerful. Don’t mistake me; I destroyed thousands before they took me down. It was an epic battle, but I was eventually overrun by sheer numbers. Even I did not know of this particular weakness. As one writer so aptly put, ‘The eyes are the windows to the soul’. So long as these spikes jut from my eyes, my essence will remain shattered and weak.

Before the worlds began, there were two sides of time. Those like the Slegna, that watched harmlessly, and another darker breed that had a more hands on approach. They are the Darmin, which I later tricked man into calling Demon. They are not nearly as weak or as kind as you have made them out to be, but you will find out soon enough.

A battle raged between us with my father finally taking the forefront. It was within his power to wipe them from existence, but instead he placed them behind the Veil. He like my mother maintains the balance, so the absence of the Darmin would not be tolerated. The gate to that pocket of the multiverse resides on his now forgotten fancy, Earth.

The Veil is weakening. My father was its creator and he has been detained. I suppose I mention this now because I know my brother Asher has finally awakened. He will come and free me. When that day comes, I will heal, gather my creations, breach the Veil, and finally meet my end. I will suffer no more.

A familiar sound drew my attention. I knew it well, but this time it wasn’t my skin that felt the puncturing weight of an iron rod. Even stranger, I didn’t hear or smell the sizzle of seared flesh.

“Asher?”

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Chapter 1

Birth of The Damned

The man I love is dead. My time with him was a bittersweet torment. I gave up my world to be in his, and have endured the sorrow ever since. I watched my precious Moses wither with age, and die before I knew what my blood could do for his kind. Eternity pulses through my veins and can create the creatures known as Vampire. It was a different time then, and I was naive to the affect my blood has on humans.

It’s difficult to explain how incredibly brief a human life is in comparison to immortality. When you have existed for several hundred millennia, a mere 312 years is barely a blink in time. I remember those last moments as if they happened only yesterday.

Our home was not as elaborate as one might think. It was a simple stone cottage, with a wood and reed roof, located on a hill top on the island of what you now call Islay, Scotland. We could look out our door across the ocean and, on a clear day, see Ireland. The constant breeze made the weather nearly perfect. A human would need a full layer of clothing. I of course… usually wore little more than my breechcloth. Much like pain, the chill reminds me that I’m alive.

Moses lay on the fine fabrics and cushions that covered our wooden bed. He was frail and feeble, and had lived for more than three centuries. Though I could prolong his life, I could not extend it indefinitely. His body was well beyond the average age for humans of that time, and simply wore out. His cells would no longer regenerate and he was all but a rotting shell of the young man I once knew.

His olive skin was paper thin and would bruise with the slightest touch. Only after having healed him for many hours could I attempt moving him from one place to another.

“Take me to the cliffs, Lucif. I would see the sunset one last time.” His voice was a whisper as he seemed to lose himself in my eyes.

I couldn’t deny him any request, but had no intention of letting my love die. “You will be with me forever Moses.”

“Take me to the cliffs, Lucif. My time is short.” If he had had any strength left in him, I believe he would have stood and walked out the door. He had always been so stubborn.

After wrapping a blanket around myself to protect me from the sunlight, I lifted him gently in my arms and carried him outside. The setting sun seared the exposed flesh of my hands and arms like meat on a grill. I lay him beside a tree and sat beside him so he could watch the sun paint the sky with reds and golds. Soon, all that remained was a pink halo that peaked from behind the horizon. The first hints of a diamond dusted sky emerged, and I lowered the blanket from around my head as he leaned against me.

I removed the heavy cloth and wrapped it about him to shield him from the cool night air. His smile comforted me as he raised his wrinkled hand and ran his thumb along my cheek.

“Will you not show me the same compassion you would another suffering creature?” His already blood shot eyes filled with tears, and the droplets trailed down his cheeks, pausing in the many ancient folds of his skin.

“I can take away your pain my love. Please don’t speak of such things.” My heart ached at the thought of a world without him.

“So you would condemn me to this half life for all eternity? Are you so cruel? That isn’t the man I fell in love with.” His words were spoken with as much strength as he could muster and his chest shuddered. A weak cough spluttered from his lips. “Please let me go. We will meet in another time and place.”

I felt his body shift against mine, and his already bent back slouched beneath his own weight. I knew his life would end if I didn’t intervene. I wanted more than anything to steal just a few more moments of time; just enough for one last memory.

Some of my gifts found their way into his soul over the last few decades. He read my thoughts with an urgency I hadn’t experienced before.

“No more moments, Lucif. Let this be my final memory. I love you. Another time and place.” His hand fell away from my face as his brown eyes stared into mine.

“I will love you forever, Moses.” I leaned forward and brushed my lips against his.

I had not wept or experienced the infinite depths of loss one can feel until that day when he took his final breath. Part of me raged to bring him back, and I screamed my heartache into the darkness.

My cry was cut short as selfish thoughts filled my mind. I clutched him against me and heard the crunch of too many bones. I poured my heart and soul into him but found nothing to connect with. It was at that moment that I knew he was truly gone.

A rolling white light lifted from his body. It is the same with all humans when they finish their time on Earth. His energy rose up and lingered in front of me. With a pulse of light it passed through me, coalesced, and then blazed upward toward the stars. ‘Thank you’ was spoken in my mind as his familiar musky scent filled my nostrils. A feathery breath of air fluttered the bangs of my long black hair as I gazed into his vacant eyes.

Sobs shook my chest, and my heart felt stretched to the point of breaking. Then, that is exactly what happened. The link between us was severed and I watched his body age in seconds to a dried husk of taut flesh over bone. As the years passed, the bond between us grew and I didn’t realize how much of myself I had given. I wept and screamed my sorrow into the night until the sun rose.

I felt the sizzle and burning sensation like a muted discomfort. I didn’t scurry away from the dawn. Instead I hoped I might find oblivion under the harsh gaze of my father’s eye, the sun. As dawn grew into day, my clothes erupted in flames making me a living funeral pyre for my love. He burned in my arms until only ash and fragments of bone remained. Normally, I am sure it would have been an excruciating ordeal, but the anguish in my heart made every other horror pale in comparison.

The tree we lay against had caught fire a few hours prior and still smoldered as the sun dipped over the horizon. Most of the limbs had fallen and now lay around me. Only the smoldering embers could be seen in the depths of the tree trunk. As the last remnants of color faded from the sky, my body healed and I watched the moon rise amongst the stars. My tears ran dry and I sat as I had when my love left me. My legs were crossed, but now my arms only cradled the grey dusty remains of my love, Moses.

Gathering a large bit of him in my cupped hands, I stood and made my way to our cottage. I pulled at the door with my mind and ripped it from its hinges. Stepping inside, I lay his ashes on the table.

I still wear a sachet containing his remains around my neck. The leather pouch taps against the center of my chest like a heartbeat with every step I take. It comforts me.

The smell of my love lingered in our home. I couldn’t bear to leave and remained there for many years. It wasn’t long before civilization found its way to my little island of Islay. Strangers were soon knocking on my door, and my uninvited company prompted me to build a stone wall around the cottage.

I chose to sleep during the day. It’s not a necessity or even a common practice among my kind, the Slegna. I took on this habit more out of avoidance of the sun, and to glean those precious moments in the abyss of my mind that is held captive behind closed eyes. I have never known a human that did not take this sweet, fleeting, serenity for granted.

Most evenings I chose to walk to the ocean’s edge and meander along the shore. I could arrive at my destination with the speed of thought, but as is the case with so many of my habits, I needed to pass the time. When you have forever, it is necessary to find some way to fill the endless litany of days.

As far as I was concerned, all that I saw was mine. I would watch my surroundings and ‘discourage’ any who dared enter my domain. Their thoughts were loud, even though their steps were taken with extreme care. When they settled for the night, I would drift along the bending shadows of their campfire and send their bedding and belongings into a blaze with my mind. “You are not welcome here. Go now or die.” I would merge the message with their thoughts in hopes they would have sense enough to flee.

Those individuals that did not heed my warnings did not live. We were here first, and this was our home. They were intruding, regardless of which conqueror planted his flag. The idiocy of someone landing on a rock and saying ‘mine’ never ceased to amaze me.

My guests came with increasing frequency and it was quickly becoming a problem. I did not want company, or a reminder of what I had lost.

On one of many lonely nights as I lay against the damp earth relishing the tickle of grass along my neck, I sensed them. Yet another group ventured onto what I considered my land. Taking a deep breath I let my eyes drift from star to star in the night sky.

The smell of damp earth and smoke drew my attention as the wind drifted across my body. They sat around a campfire. There were five of them, 3 men, 1 woman, and a young man of seventeen that lay unconscious beside her. Surely they knew that I would come. Enough rumors and stories had been told, that only those out to kill me had the lack of sense to come here.

I stood and felt the subtle breeze chill the dew on the flesh of my back. We Slegna do not travel like most creature of this world. We move through things as a ghost might and with the speed of thought. The wind took the last of the moisture from my back and legs, and I moved across my land next to where they sat around their campfire.

The woman sat beside the young man, tracing her delicate fingers through the blond curly hair on his forehead. She was exquisite. The red of her hair was intensified by the glow of the fire and contrasted with her ivory skin. I was about to give them my mental warning when the woman spoke.

“He’s here. Do not attack him.” Doriana turned, and the firelight lit her face with a half crimson glow.

I knew her face and turned my head to find Galen staring back at me. Druids. As if humans weren’t bad enough, now I had old acquaintances showing up uninvited. I didn’t consider them friend or foe. We had only briefly met in the distant past, but it was a meeting I still remember.

As the light and shadow from the nearby campfire danced along the young man’s face I recognized the mix of features. The Druids had broken the rules yet again. They had had a child. I would have probably chuckled before Moses left me, but now it was only a minor amusement. Of course, I too, was never much for following the rules.

She pointed her outstretched arm in my direction. The glow from the leaves on the tree beside me revealed my position.

“Leave my land Druids. You are not welcome here.” I spoke as well as sent the shattering thought to their minds.

The two guards fell to the ground unconscious. Galen and Doriana remained unaffected, and the young man didn’t stir from his sleep. I have to admit that their ability to withstand my mental assault surprised me. I knew they were old, but I had forgotten their origins. These were immortals of another kind.

Stepping out from my failed hiding, I walked toward them. “You are not welcome here. Do not think I will suffer your intrusion any more than these… humans.” I indicated the two unconscious men with a wave of my hand.

“We cannot leave, Lucif.” Galen finally spoke. The low timber of his voice was rich and even. He meant his words.

Galen was yet another form of beauty. He blue-grey eyes peered out at me from beneath his shoulder length brown hair. His thin form did little to hide the strength and power he contained. He stepped forward, and I felt his mind roll across my thoughts with a feathery touch. They were invading my memories. I’m sure they felt the push of me doing the same to them.

“I’m so sorry about, Moses.” Doriana trailed her fingers along the young man’s chin. Sorrow etched her eyes in red as she stared back at me.

“Will you please help us? He’s our son.” Her voice wavered as she spoke.

“I know who he is. I would have thought you learned your lesson.” I sat on the ground and warmed myself in the amber glow of the campfire.

A flash of lightning raced down from the sky, and I batted it away with my hand. “Don’t test me Druid. I owe you nothing, least of all consideration for your folly.” I glanced at Galen as he stood in the shadows considering his next attack.

“What do I gain?” Doriana didn’t seem surprised by my question.

“Is there no pity left in you, Lucif? Would you not spare me the same pain you hold in your heart?” She had pulled too many memories from my mind, and those final moments with Moses tore at what was left of my soul.

“To save your child, you must first kill him.” Doriana’s jerked back and her eyes were wide with shock.

“You’ve trapped a soul in flesh and bone that was never meant to be confined. Did you think you could create a human child from the illusions you wear now?” I shook my head knowing what I said was true.

I grabbed a stick from the ground and prodded the fire as I spoke. “What… nearly destroying the earth wasn’t good enough? You both know by now that everything comes with a price. You’ve imprisoned him in a human body. Just because you hold human form, does not mean you are human. I cannot help you.”

“You can’t? Or you won’t?” Galen’s angry words cut through the darkness. A violent wind pushed against the flames and threatened to rip them from the wood they fed upon.

“I do not know what affect my blood might have on the creature you have spawned.” I turned and focused my gaze on Galen.

“If I give you my help, he may share my curse. Is this a chance you’re willing to take?” The snap and crackle of burning wood filled the night.

“Yes.” His voice was stern and resolute.

“Galen! Wait!” Doriana’s plea was too late.

A limb bent down from a nearby tree, and Galen snapped off a branch in his hand. As fast as the crunch of wood was heard, he moved to his son’s side and plunged the spike into the unconscious young man.

Doriana threw her head back and screamed as a deafening crack of thunder erupted overhead. Tears fell from her emerald green eyes and rolled down her ivory skin. The wind swept her fiery red hair away from her face like vicious crimson whips.

“What have you DONE!?” Doriana’s body pulsed with a haunting blue light and a glowing tendril thrust outward from her. It struck Galen in the chest like some poisonous viper and sent him flying through the air.

Doriana rose to her feet, and her moonlit blue glow gave way to a blinding white light. “You killed my son!” She screeched out the anguished words as though each was a knife twisting into her soul.

“Doriana please! Control yourself! Lucif! Do something!” Galen’s desperate cries fell on deaf ears. Mine.

She pursued him in a primal rage. He fought to stay at arms length, but her mind was without reason. She advanced on him like a crashing tidal wave of rage. Nature bent to her will and pressed her closer to him, cutting off his every escape. Stones rose from the ground and lightning burst from the sky. He was cornered.

“You’re wasting time.” I had barely spoken the words when I felt a shift in the wind as her hand now clutched my throat.

Death crawled along my skin and for a fleeting moment, I welcomed it. A weakness I had never known consumed me, and oblivion begged my attention. “Kill me… and you kill your son.”

Moments passed before she released me and my body slumped to the ground. The sway of life ebbed as my mind found its way back to now. She was a woman on the edge and we had just taken what mattered most from her, her child. What shook me most was that she had almost ended my life, something I thought impossible for my kind.

My strength returned and I stood. “Give me your knife.” Galen reached for the blade on his hip and released the strap that held it in place.

“No, get the iron blade from the knapsack. Now is not the time to feign ignorance of my weaknesses.” Galen rushed to one of the fallen guards and rifled through the leather satchel. Finding the blade, he stood and held it out to me.

“Cut me, Druid.” I stared at the blade in his hands as I stretched out my arm and exposed my wrist.

“I can’t!’ The words had barely passed his lips before Doriana snatched the blade from his hands. She moved with grace and opened my wrist with a quick upward slash.

“Remove the spike from your son’s chest and add your blood with mine to the wound.” I knelt beside the still unnamed young man.

Galen pulled the wooden spike from his son’s chest and a sucking crunch was heard. I leaned forward and let my blood spill into the gaping wound. Doriana made short work of her and Galen’s wrist. They held their hands aloft and let their life spill into the wound.

I drew back expecting the worst and hoped for the best. “Seal the wound, Druid.” With each passing second I distanced myself from them. I would not be taken by that woman again. She had my fathers touch; ‘The killing hand’.

A bolt of lightning streaked down from the sky and sealed the wound on his chest. He inhaled like one drowning in the sea and sat upright. A slow hiss escaped his lips and his head turned in the direction of one of the unconscious guards. Fangs pushed through his gums and shimmered in the amber glow of the campfire.

In moments he was upon him. He tore into the man’s neck and drew the blood from the unconscious body in heavy draughts. Not sated, he moved with an almost imperceptible speed to the other and took the blood from his veins.

“Marcus, NO!” Doriana’s cry mixed with the slurping sounds as he fed.

Having drained the second guard, Marcus turned to his mother. There was no reason behind the blue of his eyes as he raced toward her. She reached out her hand and grasped his throat to keep him at bay. His teeth gnashed and snapped as he strained to get a taste of her blood.

“Damn you Lucif. What have you made of our son!?” Doris struggled to control her son’s advances.

“I warned you. Do not condemn me for giving you what you asked for.” I had finally recovered, and shot upward into the sky. I preferred the safer aerial view of the camp.

Honestly, I didn’t know he would share my curse so completely. Marcus was an innocent, and was loved by the most genuine hearts this universe had to offer. Now… he was damned. My blood changed him and took him to a darker place. What was worse… they begged me to do it.

“Use the sun’s light to control him. If he shares my curse, then he also shares my weakness.” I spoke to the Druids’ minds as I lingered in the sky far above them.

“Lumina!” A blinding white light burst from Galen’s hand and I heard Marcus scream in agony.

The intense blinding light forced me to turn away and shield my eyes. Even at this distance I could feel it burn my skin.

“Father… Mother… please don’t let me die.” It was the first time I heard Marcus speak, and his voice held such an innocent tone that even I was compelled to turn and look at him.

Marcus lay on the ground at Galen’s feet, slowly inching away as the blaze ate at his skin. Sobs shook his chest and mixed with his screams.

“It hurts! Please! You’re killing me!” Marcus rolled over and the light ate at his back as he crawled away and struggled to escape into the shadows.

“Don’t kill him you fool. Protect him from the sun, but do not trust him. He may be the salvation for your unborn son, Doriana.” I felt the infinite ache of hunger rage in his chest.

What he needed was not human blood. He needed mine. I suppose, looking back, it would have been better to end his suffering, but I already had my fill of death. We made many mistakes that night. One, was not paying attention to the fallen guards, because now they were gone.

“What were their names?” I lowered myself toward the ground but still a comfortable distance away from Doriana and her ‘killing hands’.

“What are you rambling about now Lucif?” Galen’s voice was strained and filled with rage.

“The guards. I’d like to know their names. We’ve done the world a great disservice this day, and I would like to remember it properly.” I watched as their eyes shifted to where the guards had fallen and the reality of what I said entered their minds.

“They were dead!?” Doriana’s shrill voice didn’t hide her horror.

“Yes, and like your son, have been reborn. They are now far away from here. Well Galen?” I pressed again for an answer.

“How can you act as though you aren’t responsible for this… this… abomination?” The tendons in Galen’s neck strained as spat the words through clenched teeth.

“I didn’t make the guards into the creatures they are now. Your son did. They are not my problem.” Druids have always had a tendency to piss me off and this encounter was no exception. “See the blood on his lips. It is his. He gave as well as took when he drank.”

Their attention wasn’t where it should have been, on their son, Marcus. I was barely able to cross the distance before he struck. Instead of Doriana’s neck, his teeth sank into my wrist, and Marcus pulled the blood from my veins. My head swam and a strange ecstasy surged through my body. To liken it to sex would diminish the true nature of what I felt. It was beyond carnal pleasure. For that moment euphoria gripped me completely. Sated, he fell backward and convulsed on the ground. I struggled to keep my balance and watched him writhe in the tall grass.

“The guards are not my problem, but this one is.” I pointed to Marcus. “Bring him to me just before sunset tomorrow. “I’m not sure how he will react when he wakes.”

I passed through them and moved to my empty cottage. It had been a full evening, and for the first time since Moses passed, the hours seemed to race by with reckless abandon. They didn’t know it yet, but the Druids were about to lose their son forever.

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Chapter 2

Druid Born

I knew that the Druids would come. They had no choice. We had created a new monster in this world, and had to somehow reign in the evil of our latest atrocity.

It is this one thing that has always made me laugh. Worry… it seemed so human an emotion and as equally senseless. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many human emotions that are constructive and useful, however ‘worry’, has never been one of them. It’s always seemed a fruitless endeavor to dread a thing that you cannot change when the time would be better spent finding a solution.

I rose from my bed early. I suppose it was the anticipation of something new and undiscovered in this world that made me almost giddy. The unsteady groan of wood complained as I sat upright and threw off my covers. Swinging my legs around, placing them on the floor, I lingered. There was no fighting the smile that stretched my lips as I contemplated the outcome of this day. They would arrive, and we would soon face the unknown.

There is a pattern that binds all things together. Whether your kind is able to perceive it, or not, is not my problem. This recent development, however, had put quite a kink in this plane of existence and I was curious to see it unfold.

I stood as I felt them draw near, and within seconds I heard Galen’s voice.

“May we enter?” His voice held the sharp bite of anger as he spat out each word.

“No you may not. Uncover him, just as the sun dips past the horizon, and restrain him as fast as you are able,” I answered, and grinned, knowing it wasn’t what they were expecting to hear.

I felt the sun’s rays slide up the front of my cottage like a rising fog as my father’s eye dipped past the horizon. Passing through the front of my cottage, I stood in front of them.

Galen and Doris had already stripped away the blankets that covered Marcus, and now gripped his arms on either side. Roots had snaked up from under the ground, and now wound their way about his body. A sharp intake of breath could be heard as he slowly raised his head. His chin slowly lifted as his eyes glanced at Galen, then to Dorianna, and then, finally, centered on me.

Marcus moved so fast it didn’t even give the hint of motion. He burst from the roots and his parents’ embrace, but I held him. He was not touching the ground and floated barely an inch from my face. It was no easy task keeping him when he raged. Only a fraction more effort would be needed to stop the rotation of the planet. He was certainly strong, and… hungry.

I hadn’t noticed before, but their son, Marcus, had been born with an interesting mix of features. He had auburn hair, and blue grey eyes, yet the same delicate features both his parents possessed. He was too thin to be considered healthy, but there was no weakness in him now, save for his need for blood.

He crept almost imperceptibly closer as his desire to feed fueled his strength. His mouth was open as if in a yell and his fangs were poised to strike. His face was twisted in fury, and his arms stretched outwards as if to bring a killing embrace.

“What are you doing to our son, Lucif?” Dorianna’s voice was filled with a mother’s concern.

“I’m holding him. He wants to feed. Don’t you Marcus?” I released the hold on his head and watched his teeth gnash as he snarled.

“Yessss! Give it to me!” Marcus’ eyes followed me as I paced back and forth.

“Even now he strains to break loose from my hold, but he is not strong enough.” A weak sigh passed my lips.

I felt the yearning build in his chest like some clawing animal while he eyed me as his next meal. “Give me the blade.”

Doris fished through the satchel draped over her shoulder, and pulled the iron from the dark leather recess. She held it aloft in her open palm and I brought it through the air and to my hand. The hilt was made of ivory, but the blade was distinctly iron and I felt the burn on my flesh as I drew it across my wrist.

Marcus gasped at the smell of my blood and I held my wrist above him, letting my life spill onto his lips. The thick black liquid flowed like tree sap from the opening, and trickled down into his mouth ever so slowly. The wound sealed, and I watched the whites of his eyes fade to black as my blood coursed through his veins. His head swung from left to right, and finally lolled back on his shoulders as his drunken black eyes gazed aimlessly at the night sky.

“Moooorrre!” His words were more of a carnal hiss than actual speech.

“Doris… Galen.. you need to leave this place, and soon. I don’t think you want to witness what I have in mind.” I felt an extra push from Marcus as he struggled to break free from my hold on his body.

“I won’t leave my son here with you, Lucif.” There was no mistaking that she meant what she said.

“Fine… then you handle him.” I rose upward into the sky and released Marcus from my hold.

No sooner had I released him than Marcus raced to his mother’s side and buried his teeth in her neck. Galen called down lightning as she struggled in the tight embrace. The flashes of light tore at their son’s flesh but he ignored them as he drank. Within moments he would drain her.

A massive stone erupted from the ground and launched Marcus into the air. It gave them the moment they needed to escape. I felt them travel along the roots and between spaces as they moved away from the island.

“Damn you, Lucif!” Galen’s whispers filled my ears.

I gave them my final reply. “Do not return until she is ready to give birth; we’ve already given Marcus too much.”

As the moon traveled across the sky, I watched as Marcus crossed the land of the Island of Islay. He moved from town to town… men, women, and children were bled dry and still he showed no signs of stopping. I followed only seconds behind, burning the bodies to ensure that more of his kind would not wake.

I suppose it wasn’t the best solution in retrospect. For me, it solved a problem: no annoying neighbors, but in the same instance it severely limited the available food supply for Marcus.

It was this fact that sped me home and told me he would arrive shortly. The sun would be rising soon, and I had the feeling he would return. His hunger would guide him here even if simple reason escaped his fevered mind.

“LUCIF! What have you made of me!” I heard his strangled cry from within my cottage as though he screamed it into my ears.

I opened the door and saw him standing a few yards away. The dawn was quickly approaching and the sun had already begun painting the sky with a vibrant golden light. My father’s eye was fast approaching and even with the mix of our blood I knew he couldn’t stand the full force of it.

“Come in and rest. We’ll speak when you wake.” I’m not sure why I let him live that day.

He was the first vampire, though the name wasn’t given for centuries to come. Many horrific stories were told, and in truth, most were true. The early tales have been lost in time, but all have been quickly replaced by new ones. We kept to the Isle of Islay.

I woke the next morning before the sun dipped past the horizon and waited. I held Marcus’ dead form in place and watched as his eyes fluttered awake.

“If you can control yourself, I will release you.” Marcus lay still and didn’t answer for several minutes.

His mind was a flurry of thoughts, all broken and distant, and I strained to make sense of it.

“I hate you, Lucif, and one day I will kill you for what you’ve done to me.” The resolute tone of his words entered my ears and my mind as he spoke.

“This was your mother’s and father’s doing. Search my thoughts, and realize the truth of them. Know this though; I am eternal. I am not the creature you are, and I will destroy you at the first inclination of betrayal. Your parents’ inability to follow the natural order of things brought you to me, and it was upon their request that you are what you are now.” I would not have him at my back striving for my demise. The idea of it made me chuckle, and I suppose my response seemed almost sinister in his eyes.

“Well then, I will destroy them.” His mind shifted like an amorphous fog trying to take shape.

“No, you will do as you are told and give your unborn brother a chance at life. He must be born to release you from this torment, because I don’t have the heart to do what must be done.” I let the weight of my head pull my chin to my chest as I spoke.

Marcus broke free of my hold and moved through the space between us. His teeth tore at the skin of my neck and I let him feed. Minutes passed, and he soon stood and fell backwards to the floor. His body writhed, and I watched a new horror unfold.

The Druid blood had mixed with mine, and I knew that what he had become was something altogether new and different from us. He regained his composure and raced toward me for another attack.

I stopped him and, in doing so, also stopped the planet from spinning, bringing night and day to this world. Still, though we traveled through space in the cycle of seasons, this one had to be stopped. There was no other way. The devastation that followed was epic.

The oldest texts tell of the great floods and volcanic eruptions that resulted. They don’t, however, speak of or know the reason. Marcus would submit to me even if it meant the destruction of the world. He would know his place, and that I was the one creature that could control his course.

Marcus submitted, and became my executioner. He made quick work of any intruder that lay foot on this land. It was the time of the Vikings and Pharaohs, and ours story was just another legend.

Several months passed, and the land withered and slept through the changing of the seasons. Marcus’ desire for my blood dwindled and we had finally become companions, of a sort. We were never lovers during that time. Our bond was more of teacher and student, and I was glad for the distraction. It made the passage of time so much easier.

“Your mother and father are coming.” I poked at the glowing embers in the hearth as I spoke.

“I know.” His voice was without emotion, and I paused only a moment to look at him.

Though his frame never did grow beyond one starved for too long, his eyes had taken on a look of ghostly horror. Marcus didn’t age, and never would, but his eyes… his grey-blue eyes held a sadness I couldn’t explain. He was attractive by any measure. The long auburn hair and delicate curve of his chin framed a near perfect face and mirrored the slender perfection that was his body. He possessed a vicious beauty, if there was such a thing, and I found myself lost in it on more than one occasion as he slept. Our relationship remained platonic though, in all honesty, I yearned for more.

I built a pyre of wood just outside my cottage that evening, knowing we had guests coming. Doris and Galen or, more aptly put, Dorianna and Galen were approaching. Why she refused to go by her proper name baffled me. She had always been more than stubborn.

We waited patiently for them to arrive and soon they appeared before us, stepping out from behind a tree.

“Not this place, Galen. Not here!” Doris cried in the night and my pyre burst into flames.

The Earth shook, and my cottage collapsed in upon itself. Her labor pains shook the land as if the planet itself was birthing a new life.

“Good Evening, Mother!” The words had barely left Marcus’ mouth before he raced toward her.

Doris held up her hand, and from it launched a blinding white force that threw him violently through the air. He fell to the ground several feet away as the strange energy ate at his skin. The white light bit at his flesh and seemed to consume him layer by layer.

“STOP!” I stood between them and took the brunt of her attack. I felt the heat of my father’s eye along my skin.

She had tried to deal him a killing blow, though I didn’t understand why. Had I not intervened he would certainly have perished. Heat upon heat fed on my form as I stood in the path of her fury.

Another scream shattered the fire-lit darkness as Doris lurched forward like someone cushioning a recent blow. It was time.

“Take us there, Galen. Do it now!” Her usual high, even, tone was wracked with pain and her voice cracked as she called out to him.

Galen raised his arms from his sides and a circle of stones erupted from the ground and surrounded us. They seemed to grow and overlap upon each other as if they were alive. Soon the rock created a solid dome covering us, and there was the sensation of movement.

When he lowered his arms, the stones parted and drifted back into the earth. He staggered and fell to his knees as a new, star filled, tapestry appeared in the sky. We had traveled a great distance and it had been no small feat to bring us here.

“Nice grove.” I recovered from Dorianna’s attack and saw, that though weakened, Marcus had healed as well.

I couldn’t understand why she attacked him so violently, or why he wished to harm her. It seemed there was a mutual intent on both sides to do the other great injury, but there didn’t appear to be any logical reasoning behind it. ‘Why would you destroy the one chance your unborn child might have at a normal life?’

Doris screamed into the night, and squatted down to deliver her child in the fashion that is most natural. With the help of gravity and great effort on her part, the child would soon be born. Marcus again raced toward her.

“No Marcus!” This time I stopped him and, again, the planet as well.

The Earth’s rotation halted, and the moon and stars raced across the sky. Doris let loose a blast of such strength I knew now that it was a combination of her own and her unborn child’s. I moved Marcus out of the line of her attack, and watched it rip through the earth like a massive invisible plow, churning up everything in its path.

“Damn you, Lucif! You have no right to interfere!” She screamed her anguished words and sent another deadly blast in my direction.

Holding out my palm I sliced through the energy like a boat into a crashing wave and let the power wash over me. “I have every right, Druid. You forget who I am.”

To say that blast had no affect on me would be more a lie than even I was willing to speak at that time. It ate at me as fast as I was able to rebuild myself and, for a moment, I wondered if I would be able to stand against it. Had it erupted from another direction, I believe it would have split the world in two. Her strength did wane, however, and another torturous cry filled the night.

There was a complete calm that followed. Not a single sound of life could be heard in the darkness; be it bird, insect, or even the drift of wind between branches. Finally, a desperate intake of breath broke the silence and a ragged but wavering wail was heard. Their son didn’t appear at all pleased to be entering the world. I can’t say I was any more impressed upon my arrival.

“Now… give him to me.” I shifted toward her letting the world pass through me as I advanced.

“Galen!” Her shrill voice was weak, even now in her terror, as she watched me approach.

“He cannot help you. He is as frozen as your son Marcus. Give him to me!” I was growing impatient and they were wasting time.

Each obstacle she raised, I passed through as though it were nothing. As I said before, we Slegna do not move as man. We pass through the things of this world as you do air. Soon I was upon her and I knelt at her side.

“If you want your child to live, then give him to me. I will not offer again.” Distant suns streaked the sky like falling stars and the blur made it hard to focus.

“Give Taron to me now!” Doris lifted her eyes to mine and then finally relented. She had already named the child, but I was the first to speak his name.

I took the small thing in my arms and shifted over to Galen. “Take his life. Let’s not make this mistake a second time.”

Pulling the iron blade from his satchel, I lay it in his hands and released the hold I had on him. “Do it.”

Galen slumped as if the weight of the world rested on his shoulders. “I cannot.”

“Then he is dead.” I pushed through the child and built him beyond what he was.

The babe in my arms grew and stretched into a small child of maybe seven years, and I lay him on the ground. He continued to grow as I fed him time, and soon he was at the point of manhood. Tufts of hair grew at his groin and armpits and his skin raced to keep pace with his elongating bones. This one more resembled his father and yet, somewhere behind his eyes, was his mother.

“He is now at the time of changing. Either condemn him to life, or condemn him to death. Either way, it makes no difference to me.” I glanced at the blade in Galen’s hand and watched the streaks of starlight race along the metal.

Galen lifted the blade and plunged it into the adolescent chest of their newborn son. Dorianna sat upright, as if she felt the sharp edges herself, and her questioning emerald green eyes focused on her husband.

I snatched the blade from Galen’s hand and ran it through all three of their wrists with blinding speed to collect that which was necessary, blood. Crouching beside Taron I lay the metal over the wound and glanced back to Doris.

“Seal the wound.” I ran the metal along the ridges of torn meat on his chest and backed away.

A bolt of lightning streaked down, sealed the wound, and Taron breathed in his second breath of life.

“Three parts druid, one part Slegna, and now the blood of four. He will be the first truly human Druid, but it comes with a price. What this world has stolen from me, I have stolen from you.” I glanced at Doris to see the green of her eyes raging back at me.

“You, however; have a luxury I was never given. Eternity with the one you love.” With that I released the world, and the stars seemed to skid to a stop and fill the sky.

I took hold of Marcus and traveled the distance back to the ruins of my cottage. The Druids would not follow… not now. In some odd way the balance was restored, and strangely enough… I had a hand in it.

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Chapter 3

Distraction

Marcus was gone when I awoke. Many years had passed, and he didn’t need me any longer. His determination and will had given him the strength to wean himself from my blood decades ago. We were never as close as Moses and I once were, but we knew each other almost as intimately. Well, as much as any two acquaintances can when they are in each other’s company for a couple of centuries.

I suppose it has always been different for me. Long ago, I learned that life on this rock is little more than one distraction after the next, interrupted by the odd obsession and occasional sorrow. Marcus hadn’t lived yet, and I wouldn’t take that torment from him. Time, and the endless litany of days, would eventually tear at his soul as much as it has mine.

Still, that didn’t mean I couldn’t feel the loss. He was young, and hadn’t yet learned what life on this rock was all about. I envied him his naivety. There was the infinity of time, and so much more, for him to discover.

Years passed like forgotten breaths as I lived alone on Islay. People crossed onto my land with greater frequency, and eventually I grew tired of the battle to keep my piece of this planet mine. It was time to move on to my next distraction, and I wanted to see how the people of the world were progressing.

I walked the land as a human, and traveled the star lit nights, only taking flight to cross the water between islands. The first hint of civilization I encountered was the small fishing town of MacDar, on the sandy beaches of Ayrshire. What I suspected were green covered mountains had taken on night’s blue hue, and more resembled great shadows rising in the distance. Behind me, waves clawed at the shore like onyx talons and the ocean seemed to stretch on forever, as I walked toward a clay and rock structure. The air was cool, as it always is in this part of the world, and the smell of the sea clung to the thick wool robes wrapped around my body.

For a fleeting moment, thoughts of Marcus entered my mind, and I was now grateful he was so enamored by the things he claimed from his victims. Recently it had also become my practice, though not in as grand a scale as he managed. Each summer I would insist he remove a generous pile of his bounty from the cottage and burn it. Even though he washed the hides and fabrics he pried from his victims’ still warm bodies, a stench remained. It was as if the last trickles of their horror had somehow permeated the garments and could not be wrung away.

“Hold, stranger!” A mound of animal skins shifted and moved forward out of the shadows.

The man’s voice rattled, deep with congestion, and I wondered if I had interrupted his sleep. I could sense the power and strength in his arms and legs, and knew that this lump of a man was not what he appeared.

“I seek shelter for the night,” I replied in Gaelic as I continued to approach. The language had changed some over the centuries, but still the basic structure remained.

“I said hold, stranger! I will end your life without a second thought. There are things that roam the night here that even the gods have forgotten, and you may well be one of them.” The lump of a man now stood like a waking monolith and snatched up the spear that lay beside him.

I couldn’t contain my laughter, and stood still while he readied himself. “Forgotten indeed, truer words have never been spoken,” I paused to search his mind and spoke his name, “Kesan.”

His name meant spear, and it made me smile that his parents had named him so appropriately. The fact that I knew his name, and that he hadn’t given it didn’t set well, however.

“Foul creature. By your man’s voice I know you not to be Phaerie. You will not be the first of your kind I’ve killed during this moon’s turn.” He spat out the words like they were venom.

Kesan rushed forward and thrust his spear into the center of my chest. The sharpened stone blade was fastened to a wooden shaft that snapped away where it was bound by leather cord. It fell to the ground and he was left with only a splintered staff to defend himself.

He wielded it deftly as he spun and attempted to strike me, but I moved much too quickly for him to land any of the blows. Soon, he tired and backed away to block the entrance to the structure behind him.

The building was more of a mound of rock and clay, with a wooden frame on the inside, scarcely holding it aloft. It was half dug into the earth and half above. Had it not been for the orange glow of fire licking at the sky from two torches, a traveler might think it was just another hill.

“What, and who… are you, creature? I would know the name of my opponent.” Kesan spoke with labored breaths, but was recovering.

“I am Lucif of Islay.” His eyes widened but he held his terror in check. “Ahhh… I see you know the place.”

“Many of my clansmen have gone there and have never returned. It is cursed, and the womb of all evil. Once, the island was a right of passage, but the God Galen and the Goddess Dorianna warned us away from that place. Still, we went as was our custom, until these last few centuries. My grandfather passed on the stories of that place to us as children. We thought they were only meant to scare us away, but now I see the legends may have had some merit.” Kesan’s eyes glistened with a combination of sorrow and rage as I rifled through the memories of his past.

I had killed his three sons. It had only been a few seasons ago. I could see their faces in his mind and knew their fate. They would not relent. They would not leave, and I have little patience for ignorance. Their death was quick. The fish had fed upon their dead bodies, and their bones were washed away by swift ocean currents long ago.

“Many people came to my Isle of Islay. Those that did not return are dead.” I answered him as best I could, and watched as the words struck him as surely as any hammer might.

Kesan staggered backwards into the recessed entrance of the inn, fell to his knees, and sobbed.

“For a stay at your inn, I will save your unborn child,” I said evenly, and waited for his response.

“What do you know of my unborn child?” Kesan glanced up and into my eyes with broken defiance, and gazed at me as though trying to comprehend his next tragedy.

“I know that a vampire lays eyes upon your precious wife, Rós, as she sits tending a pot of stew in the burrow. She seems a delicacy, with your child in her womb, and he means to take their life’s blood. Grant me safe passage, and I will save them.” No sooner had I spoken the words, than did Kesan leap to his feet and burst through the door behind him.

He charged into the center of the room, and I followed. I stood to one side, looking on. The vampire spun quickly, and moved from his empty table to the ledge of the fireplace beside Rós. His hands wound around her head in a blur, and he held her neck exposed. She rested against him now, almost intimately, as a whimper escaped her throat.

“Do we have a deal?” I asked barely above a whisper.

The vampire glanced in my direction, and I knew that this was the first moment he had felt fear since his change into what he was. He hadn’t sensed me, and it frightened him.

“Yes.” Kesan hissed the words as though they were something he couldn’t stomach and left him with too much bile.

The next few moments were a blur. As soon as Kesan answered, I held the vampire in place as he sat poised to kill the fair Rós. I burned him to ash and, at the same time, Kesan turned on me, blade in hand.

I felt the bite of metal against bone as he plunged a small dagger into my chest. It was made of iron and the sudden impact stunned me. Nothing but iron could have pierced my flesh. Our eyes met, and I saw his terror. I still stood, though I can’t say I wasn’t shocked.

A second passed between us before I moved in front of Rós. I held Kesan in place with my mind, as I knelt beside her, so he could witness what he had done.

“Pull it out,” I said as I gazed up at her.

Rós glanced at Kesan, and then back to me, as she raised a trembling hand toward the hilt that stuck out from my chest.

“NOW!” I yelled, as the hiss of my blood churned against the foreign metal.

Her hand finally wound its way around the leather-bound hilt and pulled it slowly from my chest. Once the blade was all the way out, she shuddered, and it fell from her hand to the floor.

I moved from kneeling in front of her to the pile of ash I had made of the vampire behind her. Still, Kesan looked on, unable to move, watching. As he stared at me, I slowly raised my hands to caress her cheek and forehead like one might an ailing child. Then… with a twist of my wrists, I snapped her neck and let her pregnant body slump to the floor below.

Screams filled the room, and there was a rush of people toward the door leading outside. It was closed, and I would see that it stayed that way until I was finished.

“We had a deal,” I whispered as I watched the light in his eyes twist and die.

I don’t think I will ever forget that look. It was as if age suddenly possessed him, and knowledge filled every fiber of his being. The depth of sorrow I saw in his brown eyes reminded me of a forgotten reflection. The last time I had seen eyes like those was when the ocean’s waves crawled up the shore, and a full moon lit the sky. They were my eyes, after the death of my precious Moses.

I am not completely without mercy. Kesan’s suffering ended soon after I finished with the rest of them. I killed them all that night. Every man, woman, and child in the room, that possessed a heartbeat when I entered, was nothing but a heap of dead flesh when I was done. I left Kesan for last so that he could watch what his betrayal earned him and those he loved. Releasing my hold on his body, he slumped to the floor and sobbed.

“You should not have betrayed me, Kesan,” I whispered. “This did not have to be.”

His head hung like a weight pulling at his convulsing shoulders. Kesan lifted his head as I approached. Anguish filled his eyes and, as I drew near, his gaze began to change into something more malevolent. He lunged forward as I stood directly in front of him. My hands gripped his head, and a sickening crunch followed as I twisted his skull in a direction it was never meant to go. As I said… I am not without mercy.

It wouldn’t be long now until the sun rose, and I decided it would be best to get some rest until sunset. Other than the odd spray of blood, and occasional bit of carnage here and there, the place was actually quite cozy.

The burrow was circular in shape and housed several wooden tables and chairs. Each was worn to a silky sheen that only age and constant use can bring. The walls were sturdy, and seemed to absorb the light as shadows writhed and flickered. A fire still burned in the fireplace that sat in the center of the room, and the smoke flowed upward through the roof.

Along the walls were small openings that led to smaller pockets of space that were used for sleeping and other nightly activities. From the myriad of odors that filled the room, it seemed that sleeping must have usually been an afterthought. I hadn’t noticed, until now, how pungent the place truly was. Wood and earth mingled with whatever dead animal cooked in the pot that hung over the fire, and still there was more. Human waste tainted the air, as well as the stench of too many unwashed bodies.

I picked a sleeping space that seemed to be the least offensive, and lay down on a pile of animal skins that covered the floor. It was surprisingly warm for such a large burrow with only a single fire to heat it, but I knew that the earth leant its own warmth. These weren’t the most civilized people on the planet, but they were advancing and, for once, the future seemed to offer something that might dull the monotony and passage of time.

My mind wandered as I rested. I never truly sleep as a human might, but my mind did quiet itself as I lay wrapped in the mound of skins. For the first time in centuries I offered up a message to my father.

“I will make a mockery of your playthings, father. I will split their minds and souls in such a way that it will haunt you for centuries to come.”

Thunder echoed in the distance, and I knew that my message was received. I had a purpose for once, in such a very long time, and that purpose was revenge. Legend and myth were going to be my legacy, and I would start tomorrow. In reality, I had started earlier, with my interference with Moses, but now… I would finish his work. He spoke with a conviction, my Moses, that I hadn’t seen before, and now… I would make his beliefs come to fruition. I would make his savior, and word would sweep across the lands like a plague.

The hours passed and I suppose I lost myself in my revelry. The sun had barely set when I heard the roar of wind, and jeers coming from outside. The burrow had been set aflame. Apparently some of the town’s people, from more remote areas, had come across the carnage I created the previous night, and found it not to their liking.

My eyes opened, and I found smoke and flame all around me. I crawled out through the waist high opening and stood in the middle of a torrent of burning debris. I burst through the ceiling, and listened to their gasps and cries as I exploded into the night sky. It would take more than fire to cleanse this place, and I laughed in the darkness.

I was tempted to kill them all, but decided against it. There was much to do, and these fools weren’t worth the effort. This, too, would become a story of legend, and Dorrianna and Galen had already done my work for me. They had created a religion in their own fashion, and who was I to distract these people from future torment.

I moved east through the night sky, relishing the cold wind as it pushed around my form. They were below me. The vampires that Marcus made had come and gone and what were left were remnants. Weaker, though still very powerful, vampires were raging in the night as I traveled over what is now known as France, England, and Romania.

Once over Romania, something drew me southeast. It was a feeling of despair and torment of such proportion that I instantly knew that this would be the beginning of my father’s torment. Such an unhappy mass of people could be easily manipulated, and so I decided. Jerusalem would be the beginning of my revenge.

It was December 19th 4 BC, though of course it wasn’t called that at the time. It was the day my biggest joke on humanity began to take form, and a day I will never forget. I would create a new religion, and it would overshadow, if not devour, all the others. I would have so many people screaming in my father’s ears that he would surely go insane. His torment would be as eternal as my own.

I drifted down to the earth, just outside of Jerusalem, and watched. The people were simple, and filled with greed. Little has changed since then. I moved out into the countryside, and found a Hebrew family that would easily succumb to my notions. Mary and Joseph were the proud parents of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, Hannah, and Grace. Virginal is hardly what I would call their nightly activities. The twist on that reality by the Catholic Church still baffles me to this day.

While you may scoff at what I tell you, you need only look in the current Bible to know that Jesus did indeed have brothers and sisters. Of course, at that time, a woman wasn’t worth knowing or remembering, so the sisters’ names were lost to all but me. I remember them though, as it it were yesterday. Mary would be remembered, of course. She was carrying a divine being inside her, or at least I would make them think so.

I appeared to them that evening, in a glow of power, and floated just outside the door of their cottage.

“Behold, I am an angel, and bring you a message from your God. Come and listen,” I called to them, and heard them scramble to the window.

The little epiphany, to twist the name of my kind, struck me so instantly I had to stifle a laugh as I spoke.

They finally opened the door to their cottage, and knelt on the cold ground in front of me. Only the children were brave enough to steal glances at me as I glowed in the night.

“283 days from this night you will travel to Jerusalem and give birth to the Son of God,” I announced in my most authoritative voice.

Joseph glanced up and then cowered even closer to the ground. “She is barren, Angel. The birth of Simon took her ability to bear more children.”

“I see.” I moved toward Mary, knelt in front of her, and placed my hand on her head.

She shivered more from fright than from the cold and, again, I had to hide my amusement. I restored her body completely, so she was without flaw. She would conceive and bear a child.

“She is barren no longer. Bed your wife, Joseph, and through you will come the Son of God.” I spoke as you might whisper to a lover.

I rose in the air and looked down on my newest creation. In a matter of months, I would have a new religion birthed, quite literally, into the world.

I moved across the land, and lost my glow as I disappeared from their sight. A second plan had entered my mind, and so I moved to the colder reaches of what is now called Russia. A second creature would be born and, to this one I would be father. The birth of the Lycan, and later, the Fey, would come to be. I only wish I had known then what I do now.

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