In Between the Folds of Time
Nothing can speak as well as Silence.
That Silence herself holds a thousand words,
Whispering each one to all those who will listen.
Brought peace to those whose lips she touched.
With out stretched fingers of nimble chill,
Bays peace does Silence, and all is still.
Of bleeding roses and feathers of the night.
The elder vampire was silenced. The night had passed, waning upon the very edge of waiting. Umah, certain that she should have been sent with Kain, paced the floor. Vorador watched her, detecting the restlessness that her soul beheld.
He wished that he could console her, or at least bay her peace. But he could not, because deep inside he felt it too. Felt that perhaps things had not turned out the way they had hoped, that Kain had failed within what he had set out to do, for thus far the young vampire had yet to return.
Even so, Vorador attempted to remain as focussed as anyone could when such circumstances presented themselves. He calmed his own worries with the fact that Kain was determined, Vorador knew this, knew that whilst a flame flickered within Kain, then Kain would never rest.
Kain – the eager fledgling that Vorador had known since his first days as a vampire. Kain had sought Vorador, finding his way through the Termagant Forest and its swampland, and then passing through his mansion's many passages and traps so as to request Vorador's aid in defeating the Paladin Malek.
Such moments seemed a long time ago, even for a vampire such as Vorador. How the times had changed, how those left who had partaken in such events had changed. Vorador smiled inwardly acknowledging how much Kain had evolved to become the creature that he was now.
Kain had come to Vorador as a newly created fledgling vampire, still clinging to his nobility and whatever threads of mortality where left inside him. Now no more the human but a creature wrought with deadly vengeance. And oh how the sight of Vorador had first repulsed Kain! The fledgling's face of disgust had amused Vorador greatly.
"There is no way to know where Kain has gone, or what he is doing." Umah's voiced raised itself from the depths of stillness, hued with an inward aspect of slight doubt and a dominant hint that she thought Kain's quest had ended badly. Her voice disturbed Vorador's thoughts, and he put his memories of the past aside, for he could no longer think upon them.
"Even you haven't been able to contact him."
Ah, she was right, and Vorador knew it. Contact with Kain had been scarce. Vorador had not heard from him or been able to contact him for quite some time. An ill omen, for though Silence could be the gentlest maiden, she could also be cold and cruel, a great reflective companion for those of vampiric essence.
Vorador debated the many concepts of the situation within his mind. Perhaps Umah should have gone with Kain, for he knew damn well that Kain could sometimes be a little too eager for his own good. This had been proved through the years before – a newly fledged vampire setting out to destroy the Circle. If only it had been that simple. But no, there was much more to it then that.
Yet surprisingly the fledgling Kain had continued forwards, swiftly moving through the Circle, wiping them out one-by-one. Truly he lived up to his vampiric 'title' of being a pestilence.
But the situation was more complicated then a mere assassination mission. Vorador had known this. He also knew, much to Kain's distaste, that the situation would only grow more complicated.
Yet alas, Umah had been injured. Sending her out with a single-minded Kain would not have benefited either of them. Vorador worried for Umah's safety, how could he not? After all she was one of his children, his favoured, and he wished not to loose her. Ever. Umah was plunged into danger nightly, but whenever possible, Vorador attempted to keep her out of harms way. Nevertheless, she was another one who had an adamant mind of her own.
Umah remained unsatisfied, torn between the elements of worry and uncertainty. When the situation was to present itself fully, could they trust Kain? She was not sure, but for the time being placed her faith in Vorador, following the line of thought and believing that if Vorador thought Kain to be the right choice to store their last threads of hope in, then so be it.
It was this line of thought that suddenly shattered and re-birthed a resolution. Those of the Cabal within the hall withdrew suddenly at an abrupt intrusion.
Two figures appeared. There was a sudden shift in the atmosphere. Those of the Cabal on guard reached for their weapons, bracing themselves that perhaps somehow the Sarafan had found a way to enter Sanctuary. Vorador's claws also rested upon the hilt of his sword, yet something held him back from drawing it. Deep within his mind his senses picked up that of another's, one that highlighted his essence, and yet in a paradoxical moment, chilled his being to the very core. His senses picked up the impossible.
With such an in-take of breath they had entered, dispelling all fears of a failed mission and yet raising countless more.
Standing before all was the arrogant and resolute Kain, and with him, another.
It was such a scene that unfolded itself quite unexpectedly. What was Vorador to think when before him, as well as Kain, stood the Father of Vampires who had 'supposedly' been brutally slaughtered so many years ago?
Some distant memory resurfaced itself at the back of Vorador's mind. A memory that, according to the right of history, was not meant to be there, let alone exist. So that bedraggled and decrepit creature, the one with the fierce eyes and matching attitude, had found a way?
But already the memory was being glazed over with the mentality and reality of the situation.
'What is the meaning of this?' came the faint whispers from around the hall. Vampires watching, glancing at Kain and then to the winged figure that stood next to him, all of them curious to know who he was.
The one who had come with Kain was adorned with feather wings of raven black, blue skinned and an empathetic gaze of yellow hue. Though the creature had a gentle gaze it seemed to radiate with the fact that this individual was very much the predator like those of the Cabal in the hall. And yet he was like no other creature any of them had ever seen before.
Umah, as curious as the others, glanced from Kain and then to Vorador, awaiting someone to speak first, to break this silence that was hinted with whispers.
"Do I dare believe my senses?" It was a question, but one Vorador found asking no one but himself. It was a question formed in the essence of a rigid thought accidentally spoken aloud.
"Janos, my sire? But they killed you."
Name spoken. The winged creature's mask was peeled away. Truly, this figure standing next to Kain was Janos Audron.
Legendary vampire held hostage by history, a victim of time, and described as one of the cruellest and evilest of monsters to have ever graced Nosgoth. Yet looking at the creature that presented itself to the room, one could not help but question such a statement. For within this being that stood before them there seemed to be an air of benevolence, gentleness that only one such as he could hold.
Here was history's 'great monster', the demon to have his heart ripped out by the Sarafan elite. Indeed, the monstrosity of legend came displayed as nothing more then Seraphic in appearance.
Legend shattered. The stories were wrong. History screamed at the defiance that Janos wrought in not being quite the vile creature he had been portrayed to be.
The remnants of history lay scattered within the main hall of Sanctuary. Like torn pieces of pages from ancient scrolls, books, tomes, so the broken pages were stirred and caressed by the drops of time.
Vorador wavered in his stance, weak with revelation. Was this real, could this possibly be? The thoughts of that forbidden memory that had appeared upon Vorador seeing Janos had already been tucked away in the blankets of history. Such a memory was rectified with reality. How could this be real? How cruel it would be if this turned out to be nothing more than an illusion.
Vorador was tempted to laugh at how ridiculous this situation seemed. Laugh – he would have done if it were not for Kain's fierce look.
Janos was dead. He had been cruelly murdered. Many, especially the people of Uschtenhiem, had told stories about such. It was legend that Janos' heart had been torn from his body, 'still throbbing and bleeding.' In all accounts Janos Audron was apparently dead, and had been till the point of where Legend had claimed him as his own, warping and wrapping the very image of Janos Audron until his image alone was pure fabricated myth.
Vorador remembered collecting his sire's body and laying it out with one thousand candles and many more. And then he had waited. And waited. And waited. Many years later and now here stood Janos Audron, alive, but so many years late.
History was being defied once more. Here stood Janos Audron, right next to Kain.
"No, far worse." The creature spoke. Far worse? What could possibly be 'far worse' than death, far worse than having your life stolen from you without a flickering of remorse?
Vorador's eyes never left Janos', lest his sire be suddenly taken from this hall.
"But that is a story for another time." Indeed, there certainly was no time to tell stories of such, not in front of this audience, not at this point, though Vorador yearned to hear it.
Inside Vorador felt like some impatient fledgling, a strong desire of where he wanted to know what exactly had happened within that fateful turning point in history. A turning point that had set the whole Wheel of Fate rotating into one catalytic moment – a moment of turmoil. Everyone at that fateful moment had lived out what fate had written for them, heedless to other events going on elsewhere. Everyone moving forwards, always, becoming what they were intended to become. That is, apart from but a handful of figures who rebelled.
"But there will be no time for any of us," Kain said abruptly. "Vorador, we need your counsel."
"We were wondering where you were." There was a hint of caution within Umah's voice, as if to warn Kain not to demand things from Vorador. It seemed that no matter the situation or the urgency of such, some creatures continued to always remain the same no matter how much fate and time were twisted.
"I've been doing what I said I would."
Vorador sighed and composed himself. Whatever his thoughts, whatever his worries, they could wait. What mattered at the moment was the situation at hand. "Kain, the device?"
Kain spoke, his voice swift and to the point, whilst the trail of thought within all vampires present, snapped. The situation was to become all too clear, for within swiftness Kain explained their exact predicament. There was certainly no time now, no time for explanations or anything, just this and Kain desperate to make haste once more.
Within these circumstances, and from the fortified strands of what time remained for them, so it was a plan was created. Words derived from both Kain and Janos – Janos filling in details of the main design, which had remained to be hidden, up until now.
As Janos spoke so Vorador thought upon what was being said. It reminded him of a time when Vorador had not been the creature that he was now. A time when Janos had spoke of prophecy to him, telling a young Vorador of what would come to pass. Vorador remembered, and had always regarded such as little more then stories, 'fairy tales', especially when Janos had been murdered.
'But now all the prophecies have failed,' he remembered saying that, once. Is this what Janos was speaking of now? More prophecies, more stories along the same thread of those that an old vampire had once told a young mortal?
Now the plan was to be set into motion, and this time Umah was certain that she was not going to be left behind. Vorador suspected that she wished to go so that she could keep an eye on Kain. She certainly did not trust him, that much was true.
"It is settled. I will prepare our forces for the final attack." Vorador looked to both Kain and Umah. So, it was these two creatures that had so been chosen to be the last hope for vampiric life.
Vorador's glance upon Umah was held the longest. Something within him was stating that he should hold tight to this moment, that he should always have it set deep within his mind, just in case something happened to her. Vorador was not sure what would happen after this, whether they would ever stand within this hall again. What he was sure of, however, was that whatever time remained was everything.
With that Vorador took his final look at Umah, and to her he said, "Go well my child."
Vorador watched both Kain and Umah leave. Umah, his own 'Daughter of Darkness'. If anything happened to her… He silently wished them both well. He wished all of them, every single vampire, well…
All hopes depended upon this act, this final breath and note of the requiem.
Those who remained within the main hall of Sanctuary needed not to be told to leave, for all those within took their leave out of high respect for their Patriarch, and the legendary vampire before him.
Whispers of the past.
Time weaves the final strands of passing.
Master and fledgling were now alone, left by themselves to the murmurs of times long lost. The echoing hall was silenced and motionless in respect for two which history knew quite personally.
The two vampires stood within the grasps of a lament that had been played out many times before. Both suspended by two possible outcomes, and neither of them moved as they watched each other.
Remarkable how two beings who had known each other over the spans of time, who had seen each others minds, shared the same connection and bond of one life flow, one single strand of flowing blood – to which one created the other, that situations such as this where still to be so difficult.
Difficult in the sense where they remained still, where a whole passing of time could drift between them. Where they could be immortalised in stone by the most gifted of artists, one gaze always fixed upon the other.
The hall had been left to them, to say whatever they pleased. Maybe to catch up on the times that had passed between them in separation? Indeed, for time had been snatched from them, and a lot of time it had been too. Snatched, stolen… And there was no way to get any of it back.
Vorador's words were caught listlessly within his mouth. He was unable and unsure of what to say. After all, what was there to say? At the very depth of the matter, when it came down to the very core, what was there to say? What was there to be spoken that had not been spoken before over and over again in desperation? Whispering in passing to the one who had been taken. What about the prophecy? Had it failed, would things rectify themselves, would they heal? Where the stories actually true? Is there anything anyone can do, or is life simply destined to fail?
And the word that came with such questions had always been simple, though the answers to such questions so complex. A word that has always been whispered by many in many different situations. It is the word that the souls whisper. Why?
Between them, whole lifetimes had been played out.
The requiem continued to be sung. The passing of time seemed to be made swifter, and as Vorador glanced around the hall, he felt as if once more someone was seizing time from them. This reunion, this rejoining of them both, it would be but brief.
In the depths of the hall Vorador's gaze fixed itself upon the stone structure of the chamber. One could not help but feel insignificant to the grasps of fate, fate that held sway over every life, fate that had written every page of every breath that every creature took within the book which was Life. Fate drove forwards constantly by Time.
In the many entwined threads of time and fate, both Janos and he were merely just pinpricks, so tiny upon the canvassed mass of 'What Was To Be'.
Every stone within the pillars and the walls built up this structure, such was how life seemed. A single stone was nothing, and yet many stones together shaped this hall and the structures around it.
Vorador beheld the structure of the hall with all those thoughts piercing his mind. When he was to regard Janos once more he half expected to see him no longer there. Vorador expected a revelation to be declared, that indeed, no one was here but himself. That Janos had just been one wishful thought brought forth in descending delirium. This figure of Janos, merely just a ghost, more so a shadow of the past.
Perhaps this was madness, to see images of those you had once held close, and yet those who have passed on so long ago.
As Vorador turned to regard his creator once more, so the image remained. Damn madness and insanity and delusional thoughts. Is that was it was, this image, conjured together by the fleeting strands of madness?
Vorador stumbled upon the equalisation that Janos was still within the hall, standing in the same sort of stance that he had been holding when Kain and the others had also been there. His master's arms were gently folded, and he looked upon Vorador with a look most sympathetic. Did madness mock him?
"You are still here?" Vorador announced suddenly, again with those thoughts, those that were not meant to be spoken out load and yet somehow managed to escape through his lips. Yet in the presence of Janos it had always been that way. One could not help but think thoughts, and then accidentally speak them out loud. Perhaps it was because no matter what you would say it was hard to offend one such as he. Or more so, perhaps it was because in front of such a noble being, one could not help but be honest, or blush at keeping thoughts hidden to yourself.
In ordinary circumstance Vorador would have berated himself for daring to speak to his master, Janos Audron, in such a fashion as an uncouth and unruly fledgling. Yet as the situation presented itself in the way it did, he could not hold his tongue from speaking any abrupt rudeness, for questions needed to be answered. He deserved that much from his unfailing loyalty he had given Janos in life, and the devotion and care he had given him in death.
"Certainly," was Janos' reply. "Why Vorador, did you expect me not to be?" There was a brief and gently smile that parted the Ancient's blue lips.
Janos' child cast his glance downwards in a moment of discomfiture. He had not meant to sound so intrusive and disrespectful.
"Forgive me, sire. It is…"
His sire frowned at his apologetic manner. Janos understood. There was no need to apologise, to which Vorador's words trailed off into silence.
Vorador held himself from approaching the Ancient. For he was still worrying that this was nothing more then a reflection of history past. Irony it would be for this image to shatter like glass if it was Vorador made contact.
"There is much to talk about," Janos said, rearranging his wings upon his back, his yellow hued eyes keen as he observed his child.
"There is," Vorador agreed, tilting his head to one side in showing the depths of curiosity.
Vorador studied his creator more. Drilled within his mind was still that rigid thought that Janos was not standing before him, that this could not be possible! How long would it be before this illusion faded? Would it want Vorador to try and make contact first, so then it could turn around and torment him before dispersing into the shadows?
In return Janos gently acknowledged his child's behaviour, it was, after all, understandable. He could sense all those questions that Vorador had now, and all those questions he had called out upon his creator's death. All those questions yelled out into the cold night air, and the image of Vorador collapsing to his knees upon the bitter snow, his claws resting upon part of the rubble that had fallen in the collapse of his sire's abode. It had been a moment of anguish and hatred, a moment of abhorrence and disgust.
And all those questions, how they had echoed limply into the night, forever to remain, and forever to be unanswered. No conclusions, yet no finalisation.
Janos' child kept regarding his master diligently, another retort to the gaze that Janos was giving himself. The winged magnificence was still present, though more in the essence of a shadowy presence, a mere flicker derived through memories. Vorador remembered that grandeur of his sire, but saw that the great Janos Audron was weak.
"Will you not feed, sire?" The question was asked stiffly, highlighting the uncertainties that Vorador still clung to. The Ancient smiled kindly at the benevolence that Vorador has shown. Despite all that Vorador had been through he was always protecting and loving his kind with all the strength he could muster.
"I fear there may not be the time," said Janos.
Vorador's eyes were quick to flicker with question, bringing forth the memory of a younger Vorador, to Janos' mind.
In the midst of a darkened room the moonlight shone through the window, casting a silvery glow upon the floor. On the balcony outside two figures could be seen. A winged figure stood behind a young man, resting its claws upon his shoulder, whilst with its other hand it directed the young mans gaze out to the horizon.
Questions from the young man were a plenty, and the final one, the one question that seemed more important then the rest was the questioning of the bloodlust. The young man wanted to know about it, and whether he would inherit it if he were to agree to accept the 'gift'.
Vorador's eyes grew calm, once more showing the mature vampire that certainly he was, knowing that deep down his creator was right, that perhaps there was not much time for anything nowadays.
Around them so time did flow, constantly. Time which, had always been their bitter enemy. How wonderful it would have be if they could put moments aside, to converse with each other, like they had years ago. If only there was time to speak about what had happened, what had come to pass, have questions answered, and more questions asked.
The child of Janos looked sullen. Remorse radiated from him, a remorse that flickered and gently caressed Janos' own essence so that he could not feel anything but pity towards Vorador. Janos knew that now was the time to soothe his child, before any more moments could pass between them.
"You were swift to seek vengeance."
Yes, that had been true. Oh how he had swept through the stronghold and slaughtered six of the Guardians, six of them! All their blood tainted, but it had felt so good. On the drunken vestiges of such it was only afterwards that the loneliness and the reality of what had happened returned. Sitting in some corner of an empty building, looking out at the vacant landscape below, he discovered it to be a harsh reality, one that he could never awaken from.
"How could I not be?" Vorador replied calmly. "Sire, would you have me sit there and allow…" His voice trailed off in what became apparent as an ancient annoyance that had been buried deep inside him for many centuries. He shook his head in frustration, "it matters not. I failed."
Janos' eyes softened at the tone of Vorador's voice. His voice, indeed it had been calm, but also hinted with irritation and something that radiated deep, suppressed rage perhaps?
"You know what I would have you do," said the Ancient.
"Then forgive me Janos, for I can not be as merciful as you."
There was a pause between the two vampires. Within moments strong emotions had already surfaced – Vorador's voice had peeked slightly with the calling forth of that past event, when he had infiltrated the Sarafan stronghold and slaughtered all that had stood in his way.
What a greeting. Vorador had always thought of this moment, what it would be like if Janos stood before him once more. And to think, now he was. Yet this reunion was like nothing he had ever imagined it to be.
In thoughts of seeing Janos again he had always believed that it would be a great occasion. He had thought about it over and over again, especially after Janos' death. And then… and then in the darker times that had followed, he had banished such feelings to the back of his mind, regarding them as nothing more then silly fledgling thoughts. Back then he regarded himself to be alone, every single one – all those remain vampires, were alone, and they had all better just get on with it.
But he had always attempted to imagine this, even in his darkened chambers. Yet he had never imagined that upon their first words spoken to each other it would be about his master's death. But then, how could it not be?
The winged vampire seemed to be as he had always been, despite everything that had happened. He was always to be one who seemed to look like someone who knew the way of the world, that despite whatever happened, this was how it was meant to be. Vorador had always regarded Janos as someone who gave the impression that he always knew what was going on, no matter what. And it appeared that Janos understood others before they could even understand themselves. He certainly understood Vorador, even when his child did not. Even when Vorador questioned himself, so Janos held tight to the answers he sought.
When Janos had been murdered it was inevitable that his child felt lost. For without Janos' guidance it seemed that all possible pathways had closed in on him. Despite this Vorador made his own way, becoming a figure himself who others of his kind found they could turn to for counsel, protection, shelter, and nourishment.
"You hold tight to anger."
Vorador cast his sight elsewhere within the room, refusing to look at his sire because he knew that Janos was right.
"Your acts through anger… the blood you have spilt…" Janos gestured and then paused. "Tell me something Vorador, do you direct any of your anger at me?"
No. Never. The answer was simple. How could he be angry with Janos? Janos who, regardless of anything, had patience, had patience with many things, had patience with humanity – something that Vorador had never possessed. Humanity who had hunted their kind to near extinction, who had cruelly persecuted Janos, and who had eventually murdered him.
Did Janos look for something more in Vorador's reply? Was his question of whether his child was angry with him more deeply rooted in the very beginning of the past then what it seemed? Did Janos look for anger in Vorador not just for the fact of his death, but also for the moment that Janos had bestowed the vampiric 'gift' upon him? If he were looking for anger that deep, then the Ancient would have been disappointed, for there was none to be found. Vorador had no anger or hatred for Janos, no anger or hatred for becoming what he had become.
"Anger, at you?" Vorador snorted and turned away. "The anger was never directed at you, and you know it, my sire." He clenched his claws together tightly, noticing that his reply came out sharper and more biting then he had intended it to.
Vorador's sire's eyebrows rose quickly in a manner of surprise, the fact that for a moment there Vorador had stated that sentence so openly, so matter-of-fact. But Janos did not rebuke him, he was too understanding of his child's nature to correct his demeanour. Vorador had suffered, as Janos had told the creature Raziel.
One hundred claws of persecution dug deep into Vorador, slicing through his essence, ripping to shreds everything he held dear. It was no wonder that he was so bitter.
Despite all, Vorador had always been like this. He had a way of consuming all his emotions, locking them away. Due to such, the locked away emotions, those he refused to express, slowly took him apart, piece-by-piece, until his very core seemed fragile. But he hid it all. And inside only the baneful thoughts developed, cruel thoughts that had swelled inside of him. Cruel thoughts wrought to keep the fragility protected, and to keep his kind safe from the 'brutish cattle' that ruthlessly persecuted them.
Janos studied it all with a sympathetic approach. Through Vorador's complex soul there was something strong that radiated from within. To all those close to Vorador they alone were witness to a vampire that remained hidden to the world outside. The vampire that mortals had seen – that cold, blood-seeking monster, was but another side to him. It was a complex opposite to how he was with his own kind – but another side of the mirror.
Their words echoed within the hall. The atmosphere altered once more, moulding itself around every word that had been spoken between them. Yet regrettably, between them there was still that barrier. A barrier that kept holding them apart in fragments of awe, yet more so uncertainty. And a mass of uncertainty it was.
The Ancient concluded that the atmosphere was best to be broken, otherwise it would remain stiff and absolute, never changing. Janos did not want it to be that way, for he wanted nothing more then to put aside some matters for just a little while, and talk with his child, forgetting all matters briefly.
It would be nice, if only for a couple of minutes, to find peace. Just to talk, forget the world outside. To pretend that everything within the world only existed between them and within the hall of Sanctuary, and that outside there was nothing. That this hall was the world, and that was all. That there was no pursuit for the survival of Nosgoth – which every life depended upon, that there was no nothing but nothingness. That he and Vorador were the only creatures to live and breathe this moment, that everything else did not exist.
Selfish thoughts? Quite possibly, but what did it matter? Out there, within Nosgoth, there were many selfish creatures – mortals, even vampires. Each and everyone one of them fought for survival. How easy it would be to mutter 'let them do as they wish'. To bolt the doors shut, to close out the world, to not give a second thought, and well betide anyone who disturbed thy rest.
Vorador had done this once. And as Janos stood still he was soon to realise that those thoughts had come from his child. He had actually done that, shut out the world. But what good had it done?
Threads of thoughts came and went quickly. Vorador allowed his mind to be open to his creator, and the bond between them flickered in the security of them both being joined once more. Two pieces of a puzzle being joined together in this reunion, a broken relic being mended, a wound being healed, broken glass being pieced back together.
For a moment Vorador closed his eyes. He allowed himself to reflect yet again, to think and regard everything, to rectify his own mind.
Advice giver was averted to the one who would receive advice…
Mentor and Protégée…
Creator and Created…
Master and Fledgling…
Something clamped around Vorador's arm. His eyes shot open with shock of the suddenness of contact. It was a cold touch, one that graced the quintessence of his own. Janos' claws were clamped around his arm, a reassurance forged in touch.
The great Janos Audron stood next to the one who had been known as the 'Champion of Vampires'. Two legends meeting upon each other, two creatures with but a legacy of their own, each one derived from the other.
Contact made. Vorador lifted his other hand and enclosed his claws around his master's. Again he closed his eyes, just so that he could defy emotion by not allowing it to be shown.
Through touch Vorador realised something. What he touched was real. Real skin hued blue, real claws, real… This was no dreamful moment, no illusion, no state of madness that he had descended into in wanting this scene so much. Real, this was.
The realisation struck though him in suddenness, a powerful embrace of two souls ignited upon the path of one, connected in blood once more.
"How, how can this be?"
"So many questions, Vorador… So many questions." His creator's eyes were morose, a sadness rooted deep, scarring him. The soul that made up Janos Audron, oh how much it had been witness to, how much it had seen, how much it had beheld, and how much it had lost.
Vorador considered himself a moment. Perhaps he should stop being so insensitive, for had he not been faced with death himself? He was being even more impatient then a fledgling, what with his abruptness. For harsh were the words that contained the note of death.
It was just, for so long he had waited, and it had seemed that everything had gone wrong…
The Ancient sighed. "Death is a state, but it has not proved to be absolute, has it?
Vorador nodded in understanding, this understanding fortified by them both.
"Will you not show me the rest of your dwelling?" The ancient vampire released his grip upon his protégée and changed the subject. Speaking of death only seemed to dampen the atmosphere and make it drop as if it was carrying a heavy load.
"There is not much to see, sire. It is merely a dwelling for the Cabal, and those that hide from the Sarafan." Both vampire and human alike, so Janos had taken particular interest in noting.
"This is Sanctuary," Vorador gestured at the stone hall and the echoing structures around them. "Our place of sanctuary, our refuge – perhaps the only one now left. The Sarafan do not hesitate in destroying any building they think might be a place where the Cabal linger." Vorador grunted, he knew Janos all too well. A description was fine, but Janos would want to see the rest of Sanctuary for himself.
Vorador began to walk towards one of the corridors leading off the hall. If Janos wanted to see part of Sanctuary, then, so be it. At least in another part of the dwelling they could talk a bit more privately without having to worry about 'the walls having ears', or the echoes passing their talk to others who may have been standing close by.
He stopped within the opening to the corridor and glanced back at Janos, beckoning and directing his sire in the way of another area.
"My quarters," he explained, following his sire into the dimly lit corridor. "Are you sure you will not feed?" In reply Janos shook his head as the doors were opened before him.
"Your hospitality is most welcome, but I assure you, Vorador, I am fine," Janos said, whilst entering another room.
The Ancient looked around the room taking in the surrounding area. It was nothing grand, furnished modestly, and slightly plain. The room and quarters that Vorador lived in Sanctuary was but a mere flickering of a shadow compared to the fine homes that both Janos and he had once dwelled in. But none of that mattered now. Regardless, scattered about the room were oddments of trinkets that it seemed Vorador had salvaged from the ruin of his former home in the Termagant Forest.
Janos smiled. Despite the humble surroundings that he now stood in, he found it comforting compared to what he had been forced to dwell in.
"It has been a while since I have been in such a homely environment," the elder vampire remarked sadly, whilst stretching his wings in a gesture of fatigue.
"I am sure." This time Vorador's words were far from harsh. Instead they were gentle and sympathetic. For although he was not entirely sure about what had happened to his master, he knew that it had been nothing short of a nightmare.
"And may I ask of what happened?" Vorador reached for a decanter upon the side (one of the old relics of his former home), and poured crimson substance into a chalice. He did the same again in another, and then approached Janos.
Before his master Vorador knelt, furthermore he thrust one of the chalices into Janos' claws. "Drink, my sire," he urged.
Janos spoke nothing at first, merely glancing at the chalice within his claws in a weary manner. It was hard to understand what he was thinking or what he thought. Nevertheless, Janos sat still, observing the blood in the chalice for a while. Then, after much pausing, he brought the chalice to his lips.
"Endless darkness," Janos muttered when he had taken but a sip of his drink. "An endless void of nothingness, and always pain. The pain was never far away. And the voices, voices inside my very thoughts." The words remained fragmented, and yet true. A nightmare of nightmares being lived out with every breath he took.
"I thought I had lost myself in my own mind and memories."
Janos' child regretted having asked, for an enveloping shadow of pain was swift to descend upon his creator, his eye beheld such. Behind the mask of benevolence that was displayed to most, was a look most haunting. Vorador hated seeing Janos this way.
All those old thoughts resurfaced. Vorador blamed himself for not being able to prevent Janos' demise. The memories drew their claws once more and dug deep into his mind. It would have been so easy to go mad, giving in to all those cruel thoughts.
In truth it wore Vorador out, to constantly keep regarding all those recollections and that one event. But they played over and over again in his mind, and for some reason, he could not stop them from doing so.
"Do not keep on punishing yourself, Vorador. It pains me to see you do that. Understand that such matters are not for you, or I, to choose or decide upon. Such is the way the wheel of fate turns." His creator shifted in his seat, and Vorador noticed the scar upon his chest. Strange how he had not really noticed it moments before. Yet, now there it was, the evidence and result of such a merciless act, and yet at the same time it highlighted Janos' moment of resurrection.
"And yet, you remain to be how you have always been," Vorador stated, concluding his thoughts and narrowing his eyes in a small fraction scrutiny.
Janos raised his eyebrows in question. "What do you mean, my child?"
"Calm, resolute. In everything you have been through, there does not seem to be any anger."
The Ancient's eyes flickered suddenly, and gently he placed the chalice aside.
"Oh there is anger. Decades of anger… anger and pain," said Janos plainly, bowing his head as if ashamed at the aspect of him holding tight to an element such as anger. "Each one of us has a different way of showing it, however. It will show, eventually. This I know."
So Vorador watched Janos through a gaze of awe that he had not beheld since his days as a fledgling vampire, taking in everything his master spoke of.
The room eventually dwindled into silence; their rich voices accented with time, lingered for a while, and then settled. Once more, Vorador was left to his thoughts, though upon his very spine a chilling essence seemed to be fighting for a grasp.
He blinked and attempted to ignore it, though his senses were reacting to something, and he was not sure what. First off, where had this feeling come from, from where was it derived? Perhaps it was just the result of the overall reaction of seeing Janos once more. Maybe he should look desirably upon the feeling. Yet, he could not.
This feeling was cold, icy, and surprisingly familiar. But he could not place a claw upon it. And as the coldness made way up Vorador's body, embracing him and then lying heavy upon his shoulders, so the vampire frowned.
When no more was spoken, Janos looked up, lifting his gaze to look upon his child, noticing that Vorador had gone very silent.
"Vorador? What is wrong, you seem burdened?"
"The others," Vorador dipped one claw into the residue of blood left in the chalice, a gesture he did of old. "Whilst we talk of darkened subjects such as these, whilst we highlight the prospect of our plans, the one that Kain is carrying out at this very moment… I feel as if… as if I can no longer sense Umah." He glanced at Janos, catching a certain look off his master, one that seemed almost all knowing.
"Perhaps it is because my heart remains so darkened. Kain will watch over her, of that I am certain." Vorador chuckled bitterly, counting himself foolish of his apprehension. At this point in time, there was no need to feel worry, was there?
Janos did not reply, though Vorador took his silence for mere contemplation.
But the atmosphere would not settle. The ambience between master and fledgling had, but the overall essence of everything was still very much alert and weary. And it mattered not what room they sat and talked nonchalantly in. For wherever they went it would still remain the same, and there was no chance of hiding it. It was something that could not be hidden, and it was something they could not hide from.
Yet again, Silence remained. She danced within the room, and through her very hands so she wove sounds to a mute point.
Regardless of what Janos had said, the vampire Vorador still looked plagued. He stood within the room like some weathered remnant. It was not surprising that weariness was beginning to show, though for so long he had tried to hide it. No doubts a number of one things were grave upon his mind. Vorador concluded these worries, concluded that it was because of them that he imagined he could no longer sense Umah.
Slowly, Janos stood and approached Vorador. "No longer do you see your way," he said to his child.
Vorador made no reply, silently agreeing with Janos, for he was never one to speak of such, and Janos understood. He always understood.
The Ancient made contact once more, resting his claws upon the shoulders of his child. Merely doing so for reassurance and a beholden, strong bond between master and fledgling.
Uncertainties, this is what Janos felt radiate all from the essence of his child, currents beholden with centuries of worries, and all the worries of the future. Was it possible to shield oneself from such? And with those uncertainties and worries came the sadness that all dilemmas brought. It was amazing that Vorador had lasted so long with all those emotions pent up inside. How easy it would have been to descend into madness, to just close your eyes, open your arms, and allow yourself to drop into the depths of oblivion.
Raven wings opened and spread. Janos brought his wings around to enclose them both. It was done in a protective gesture, in a manner of a shield made up of feathers, and the essence of fortification, guard, defence, protection, and care and affection.
And in the absence of their conversation, the room seemed to darken. Shadows loomed, but not the shadows created by light. These shadows seemed to be real, with a depth to them… the very depths of an enveloping darkness. Shadows that seemed to watch, which seemed to react, their very cores made up of nothingness.
For a while master and fledgling remained that way, unfaltering to the movement of history. No longer did they fight the tides of time that passed between them. Instead they forged an acceptance, an understanding for them both.
Master and fledgling could be parted once more, but there would always be this moment defying time, for it was in between the folds of time that this moment existed, and it could not never be erased.
But the shadows remained…
And the shadows seemed all too familiar.