It doesn’t seem like it’s October already. I ended up moving and having so much come up I didn’t write very much. *coughatallcough*
In any case, now things are settling down, I feel the muse bugging me to write again. Ideas have begun to swirl about and I feel the anticipation and excitement of writing. Or at least, that’s how it feels to me. In any case, I won’t be doing a word prompt today, but just the writing exercise of writing and writing for about a page or two. Writing is a much needed break from chickens, gardening, cleaning, moving, schooling, and a host of who knows what I’ve been doing, most of which I’ve forgotten already.
Staring into the darkness of night, he couldn’t help but feel it had changed. The welcoming folds of night had abandoned him. What had once been his playground, his domain, was empty. It had felt like he had belonged matched only by other predators of the night. Now, as he stood just inside the city limits, he was unsure. Emotions had once been a thing of the past, but now they rushed up threatening to overwhelm him. It was back in the courts when he had last reigned his emotions in putting up his aristocratic mask for all to see, controlled, calm, calculating, stoic.
He was so unused to this when it bubbled up he was incredibly distracted with it. His senses telling him what was going on became muddled and useless. Or else, he would have heard him approach.
“Wilhelm.” The decidedly male voice broke the almost silence of night. “Master.”
He turned around to face his shadow. The other eager waited for any sign his master was approving. His muscles seemed to tremble like a hound ready to be loosed upon the foxes.
Even this seemed, changed. His fight with the witch had done more than he had expected. Her range of power had grown since he had last fought her a century ago.
“Maxwell of Derlington.” He took a breath. His shadow visibly shivered at the sound of his voice. It was his gift, as all Old Ones had though they differed based on what seemed to be their upbringing. The gift of the thrall was his. If one didn’t know better, they would assume Maxwell was in love with him. “How has my Shadow been doing?” He asked putting his hands behind him in his favored courtly pose.
“While you were away, I kept threats away and your cattle fed.” Max’s voice had become breathy. His black hair fell into his face unable to stay behind his ear as he held his bow. Only when his master motioned for him to be at ease did he straighten. “There was only one stray vampire that had infringed on your territory, but he was easily subdued.”
Wilhelm turned strolling forward prompting his shadow to take several quick steps to fall into pace beside but behind him. “Good. It would not have been good to lose my territory while I fought the bigger threat.” His heart beat harshly as he remembered the desperate battle of wills. The Witch tried forcing his hand. In the end, it hadn’t mattered. She was, in a way, more broken than before.
“And….How did it go, Master?” Max hesitated to ask not wanting to annoy the man. When he answered, his eyebrows went up his mouth dropping open.
“Well enough, Shadow. Well enough.”
Max couldn’t help but be worried. When he had first approached, he had thought the rushing of blood had been prey. That the scent had been from another. It was from his master. He could hear the blood rushing through his veins without assistance. He could hear the breath in his lungs. He could even hear thee changes in his breath and pace as they talked. The way only humans did. Was this some sort of test? Was his master trying to teach him in some way? What could it mean? More than these things, he had answered him straight forward and without demeaning him.
“Master?” He ventured unsure of this new behavior from the other.
“Hm?” Wilhelm turned eyebrows raising as he considered the man.
“What happened?” His hand moved as if to reach forward and comfort his master, but he dropped it back at his side.
“Not here, Maxwell. We must arrive at the manor. No need to look so alarmed. All is well.” The master vampire continued on the path to his home, but the closer he got. The more he worried the change the witch had made was permanent. Her spell was new to him. Maxwell was more learned even than him. Perhaps, he could assist in finding the spell to find how to counter it. But they would have to work behind closed doors. Should a rival hear of his weakness, there would be no hope.
When they arrived at the manor, the place was deserted besides the stray cat who had become too attached to Maxwell. If he would stop feeding it, they wouldn’t have this problem. The shadow was a bleeding heart though.
The master vampire led the way to the lower studies where he usually stayed to read, or pass the time away. Keeping pace behind him, Maxwell silently followed hoping for any treat or tips the master could pass on. It was unusual a master tolerated shadows or kept one. THe Old Ones tended to be more reclusive than almost all others. As the world passed by, they could handle it less. For some, it was the noise. For others, it was the rapidly changing culture. Technology twisting lives for better or worse.
As soon as the study door was closed, Maxwell turned to his master waiting to hear him speak of what had happened.
“Maxwell…” Wilhelm lowered himself into a chair without his usual grace. The journey had strangely tired him. “When I fought her. She…used a spell of sorts.”
The other’s breath fell from him. If this was all it was, it would be simple to fix.
“I didn’t recognize it.” He scrubbed his face trying to take the fatigue away. “You will have to search the books so we may dispel it.” Without another word, his shadow shot forward as only a vampire could and began to search the tomes. His collection was extensive, as he had taken it from every witch he had killed.
His shadow asked question after question until Wilhelm had become to annoyed. WHen his master had retreated to the fake window pane, he began his search through the older tomes. His finger came to rest on a spell from ages ago. One he had thought long passed.
“Master.” He turned on his heel looking up to see the longing in the man’s face. “I think…I found what you are looking for.” His master didn’t turn to face him but stared into the duplicated sky with clouds passing on the panes. Maxwell stood quiet for a moment. His eyes dropped to the page reading.
‘Once the vampire is subdued, the spell is cast. If it holds true, his gift will be taken. His might turned out. His soule once more restored.’
“I believe…she made you human.” He looked up from the book to find emotion twisting his master’s face. One he didn’t immediately recognize. One he had seen on cattle before as they walked knowingly to the slaughter. When they knew death had come at last.