When I woke, I was no longer underneath the tree, but rather inside the chamber of before, where I did the translating. It was much darker now, the middle of the night I presumed. Some candles were lit but not very many. Instead of lighting the room they only appeared to cast more shadows. One of the two men that Cian and Muirgheal talked to earlier this evening looked at me as I woke up. He beckoned me to sit up.
There was a strange smell in the room, I noticed as I sat upright. It wasn't incense but rather more horrible. Like blood. But more subtle. Now that my eyes got a little accustomed to the light, I noticed the man was naked and surprisingly pale in the yellow hue of the candlelight.
"Are you awake?" The man's voice was calm, but commanding.
I nodded. "Yes, Master." It felt better to use Master, considering they apparently had some saying over Cian and Muirgheal.
"Stand, servant, and kneel before me." Again his wording was quite calm but with a sharp edge of command.
I did as he asked, stood before him and knelt down on the ground. For a moment I felt uncomfortable as the cold in the stone crept up my knee. But it faded quickly enough.
"You've been chosen to become one of us." He stated this in an even tone.
I wished to respond to him, look up and tell him I had to return to the family, to the children. That this wasn't my place and that I didn't want to become a master. But that wasn't true, was it? I wouldn't mind becoming my own master, but I would feel bad about having servants myself. But... perhaps it was possible to be a master that was understanding to his servants and saw them as friends rather than tools.
So, maybe I could become a master.
I still wanted to speak up, but before I did, the man grabbed my shoulders and bit my neck. A sharp pain that faded into a... a sort of pleasure. He drained me almost to the point of dying, my heart beating slower and slower as blood was no longer present. The man turned my body around as it collapsed, so I ended up on my back, hardly able to speak, think or even see anymore. Sounds were muffled, my sight was hazy and my heartbeat felt like it only beat once every minute. Only smell, the sense of smell remained.
The smell of blood.
Only vaguely could I see the man biting his own wrist and holding it down to my lips. My reflexes did the thinking for me as I eagerly gulped every drop of blood that was supplied. Never before had I drunk any blood, but it felt more natural, more vibrant than anything I'd ever drunk. Even better than that rare wine the old master let me drink once.
It burned, it filled me with a heat that I'd never known. Almost fading from consciousness I realized my body was changing in some strange undefinable way. My sanity was hanging by a thread while sensations of pleasure, pain and confusion fought fiercely for victory over the others.
My heartbeat returned to it's former strength however, slow perhaps but each heartbeat was like the beat of a distant drum getting nearer. As more blood entered me, a delicious drink, I became stronger again and returned to life.
Such a different life.
The man took away his wrist and licked it, I could see no more blood pouring from it.
The room was lighter now, and yet it wasn't. But the light of the candle was much more than I felt I needed to see by. The walls, now that I could properly see them, were quite beautiful. Very subtle engravings of various landscapes were all around. There was definitely a smell of blood around, but now it was my ears that started to attract my mind's attention.
I could hear heartbeats, footsteps, soft breathing even. It was a virtual landscape of beings that filled with sound. It took me a few moments to center myself. Slowly the sounds faded a little so I could concentrate on just the sounds that were close. Still, each heartbeat was like a little ripple in a lake. And there was me in the center seeing all those little ripples and their sources because of it.
A wonderful sensation.
My sense of touch was different as well. As I slowly got up, I felt the floor with as if I'd never felt a floor before. The cool of the stone was now just the beginning. It was almost as if I could feel the earth below it. Feelings of mass and depth coursed through me as I stroked the floor.
"Rise." The man spoke a little less calm, but not unkind. He appeared a lot weaker and paler than before. But I wasn't sure if it was him or my new sight.
I nodded and realized he'd made me stronger. My body had never been in truly bad or good shape, but it had definitely improved. My muscles were much more defined and profound. I felt quite alive and was surprised to remember shards of almost death from only moments ago. I stood up.
"You will travel with Cian and Muirgheal, they will teach you what you need to know." He looked at the door. "I give you two warnings, as I feel you are entitled; do not step into the light of the sun anymore. It will burn you. And do not cross your Masters. They have little chance to be forgiving as others might do things they can't."
With those words he nodded to the doorway. "Now, go."
Quite uncertain of my future, I stepped through the doorway into the corridor. Gazing at every wall and pillar, noting their decorations and their flaws. In fact, the little cracks and impurities were what fascinated me the most. Step by step I did, finally, reach the outdoors again.
Where Cian and Muirgheal waited.