Muirgheal and I walked back to the cart, while I still felt the new blood still in my veins. Making me strong. It didn't seem to take as long to get back to the cart, but to my surprise, all the servants were gone. Most of the stuff was still here, almost as if they dropped it at the spot. Something felt wrong.
Muirgheal felt it too. "Stay here."
She walked around, surprisingly silent. She didn't disturb a single thing as she walked past the mess and into the building. There was no one there either, presumably, as she stepped out shortly after. Shaking her head. She walked back to me with a worried look on her face.
"Everyone's gone. This is wrong."
She walked to the back of the cart and opened a space at the back. She retrieved a short sword and a piece of stone. She handed the stone to me and smiled a little.
"This is what I wanted to show you. Another language, it's... ..." She made a strange sound that took me a moment to recompose in my head into letters I knew.
Goidelic. Or something.
I was still staring at the stone, fascinated by the unusual signs. I couldn't make them out, but as soon as I saw I wanted to learn them. Muirgheal tapped me on my shoulder and as I did, I saw her in more male-like clothing. With room to move and fight rather than look as pretty as she does. But it was a curious balance between feminine and masculine. She held a short bronze sword that was thinner than most I'd seen. It was almost like a long dagger.
The way she held it was slightly strange as well, the sword must not have weighed much to her. She moved it around as if she didn't have anything in her hand, fluid and direct movements that didn't appear to need time to slow down, as with most swords. Of course I couldn't fight myself, not well in any case, but I'd seen many people fight in training.
She spoke up, fast and serious. "Remember, don't let the sun see you, or you will burn. Sleep by day, walk by night, drink blood to survive."
I nodded. "Are you going?"
She nodded. "I have to see where they took them. If it is who I think it is, then you and I are in danger. If it isn't, it won't hurt to look for Cian."
I looked at her in confusion. "Who?"
She was poised to leave, but calmed down and looked at me. "It's a group of... fanatics among vampires. They follow a strict path of hiding and try to slay those that commune with the darkness." She paused in thought. "Considering our actions, we did not think it likely for them to attack us. But they do not always have good reasons."
I tried to understand. "I think I got it, except for the darkness."
She shrugged. "It's to do with the darker gods. You'll find out soon enough."
She looked around at the cart. "It's not safe to sleep in the cart, find a place to sleep that's away from the sun. Make sure you wouldn't easily get found during the day. I will find you in a day or two."
With those words she left.
Afentis took a deep breath. "I didn't see her again for eleven hundred years. She'd grown a little with the time and called herself Muriel. But she'd changed. The group had recognized her as a fierce fighter and trained her. Brainwashed her perhaps. When I saw her again she was there to kill me, but she let me go..." He blushed. "...after a kiss."
He smiled a little. "I've never been sure if she had survived until now. The ones she works for, 'The Light' as they call themselves, haven't been active for hundreds of years that I know of. But... Since the Silver Abbey burned, it's hard to keep track of these things."
The story had made me a little more curious about Afentis's past than it did Muriel's. "What happened when you met her with that kiss?"
He smiled. "Ironically, it was in Ireland. She already had taken to an early longsword then. Her writings had made me curious and after a few hundred years in Greece I'd travelled to Ireland. It was hard to mix among the people and the language was a big barrier still. But I persevered. After a mere two hundred years, people would vow I was born Irish."
I smiled and silently waited for him to continue.
"At the time, I was as usual a nobleman. I'd tried not to be, but the hours of my waking made it very hard to do any normal job. One of the curious things I did learn there was painting. Especially using blue. It was not a common color around the world and as my body grew sharper and stronger over time, it was easier to paint. Just a matter of practice. It was when I was painting that she interrupted me."
He suddenly remembered something. "Oh, I should note that while in Ireland, I mostly lived on my own, rather than keep a house of guests like I did in the times of Greece."
He took a deep breath. "She sneaked in my house without me noticing. Now remember she is even older than I am, but even then it's rare for a vampire to sneak up on another. Even the heartbeat gives us away. But she managed it, by temporarily suppressing her heartbeat to get close enough for a surprise attack." He sighed. "But, when she saw me painting, a river not far from where I was staying but imagined by daylight, she held back. She let her presence be known and stood there, silently, while I turned around."
He smiled softly. "I stepped aside as her eyes were glued to the painting. While she looked at it, I took the time to gaze at her. She had changed in style, but her body remained as impressive as ever. Even her long hair, braided for practical matters now, was still a sight to behold. She was quite clean too, something I had not really expected, in so far as I expected things."
"She kissed me and only spoke two words, 'Be careful', before she left." He looked at me. "She never told me what happened, but with how she was dressed and how she acted... I had learned about 'The Light' in the passing years and knew she was part of them now. They hardly bothered with other vampires unless it was needed, when they meddled with dark gods." He looked a the floor with sadness. "I found out later that one of the people I knew in Ireland was a follower of Voodoo, and was killed by Muriel the same night she visited me. He had been a good friend and a great appreciater of my paintings."
I spoke softly. "I'm sorry."
He looked up. "I just want you to be careful, Amy. She's stronger than you in every way. You're lucky you carry my blood, otherwise you'd have been dead already."