The moment cooled down in the passing seconds. We both breathed calmly and looked at our hands, our minds mostly turned into ourselves. When Afentis took a deep breath I looked up and saw him smiling.
"Let's continue." He said.
Muirgheal released me and we went to the shore, getting ourselves dressed once more. Now that the moment had faded a little, worry set in about Cian. Would he be jealous, angry or indifferent to what just happened. But the worry soon passed when Muirgheal caressed my cheek.
Her voice was warm. "Cian is neither my lover nor my husband, you may understand later. There is something else I need to show you first."
She beckoned me to follow her, once we got dressed, and headed for the fields in the distance. We walked for quite a while, in silence mostly as I took the time to enjoy her figure in the darker light. It felt like we walked for half an hour or more before we reached our destination, a small farm. She went inside, announcing her entrance and met the man of the house first.
She grabbed him by the neck and did something to cause him to relax. I wasn't sure how, but he didn't look unhappy with the situation, even though he was held in place by another (very beautiful, admittedly) woman. She bit his neck and held it aside for me to see the two wounds, blood trickling out.
"Drink." She spoke softly.
I wasn't quite sure why this all felt completely normal. Maybe I was still in the throes of the passion from before but I gave in without a thought. Moving completely by new-found instincts, I bend over to reach and bite into the man's neck, almost matching the bite that Muirgheal made.
This was completely different. While I had drunk the blood of a goddess, this blood from a mortal was... something else. It flowed into me while I took it, giving me life, making me stronger. I felt it happen, felt the red thick fluid pass my tongue, down my throat and spread through my body as it was absorbed.
It had more flavour as well. While Muirgheal's blood was more of a sensory sensation, this one was specific, taste of hard work, dedication and even love.
My body was so consumed with taking the blood that I only noticed Muirgheal had taken the woman, who'd come to look at where her husband was, for herself. She looked up at me when I gazed at her, completely forgetting about the man I had just drained. She pointed at her tongue and tore it a little so a drop of blood healed the wound in the neck.
Afentis sighed deeply as he allowed my thoughts to gather.
"You killed." I spoke softly.
He nodded. "Yes, and he was only the first of many."
It was hard not to look at him with fear and, yes, disgust. But...
Difficult as it was, I realized he had been born in a different time, with different rules and vampires. A death then was probably not seen with the same importance as it was here. Bandits everywhere, wars, trials. Death was only a breath away. A more natural part of life for them.
It was hard for me to accept, but I had to say something. "Not anymore?"
He shook his head silently.
I nodded. "I will forgive you, in time."
That seemed to satisfy him. He took another breath and continued.
It took me longer than I expected of myself to realize I had just killed. And Muirgheal just stood there, the body of the woman at her feet, an appraising look on her face. Apparently I had done well.
I had done wrong. "I just killed him." My voice no more than a whisper.
She nodded. "This is what we need to survive now. You will not grow old, sick or die. But you will need the blood of man to survive."
I wanted to speak, but I didn't want to be ungrateful either. I felt they'd given me a rare gift that should not be taken lightly. I'd never thought much about life and death like things to play with. Part of me wanted to stay away from battle and I had been lucky in my life. Of course I have had to defend myself from time to time, but not to the death.
My blood, however, knew she was right.
And the taste of the man's blood still lingered in my mouth. It just tasted and felt so right to take the blood. Like a natural flow of events that should have happened this way. I nodded to myself.
One worry remained. "How often?"
She answered swiftly. "Once a night, or even less. You might get weaker if you drink less than that, but it's a solution."
"There is one more thing I wish to show you." This time accompanied by a soft smile.
"Something you might like."