The Elegy of Fate
Do you know what it is like to see your own blood?I wonder if Kain knows…
Blood from an accidental cut, we have all seen, we have all experienced. Blood from a wound inflicted by another can happen within the midsts of a skirmish. But do you know what it is like to see your own blood, in an infliction caused by the one who created you?
I do not mean to simply glance upon it, but also to taste it, to taste it as it trickles into your mouth, the ruddy crimson bite as the element touches your tongue.
It is what I experience now, lying here upon the floor. Wearily I lift my head in confused languishment, surveying and recalling the blow that has sent me to the ground. My own blood falls from my lips, and as if in unison, it also escapes my wounds.
As a Vampire, I am used to the taste of blood… but not that of my own…
And as the coppery taste first enters my mouth it only adds to the disbelief that my mind convulses upon. Only now am I adapting to the moment that he tore them from me. Only now am I just accepting that here I lie, upon the floor at the mercy of my 'Master'.
Am I really that astonished; is this not my punishment for my moment of profanity? Inside torn essences fight for regime, one newly fledged. Within me contests two voices, the one that has always been me, the one who has always been loyal to lord Kain, the one who says I am to except this, for this is my punishment and I should not question it. The other voice remains to be angered and it is driven on by my own perplexity.
I deify the moment of submission, for I want, I dare, an answer, though I am wounded and… weak? Instead of turning away, instead of admitting my downfall, I continue to look on in front of me – rebelling silently through narrowed eyes, where it is lord Kain stands, his back is turned on us. He knows I am looking upon him, yet he refuses to give me the satisfaction of a reply from his glance.
Lord Kain, has a mind of his own, an adamant one at that. He does, and always has, what he pleases and answers to no one but himself. To demand something of him is to face his wraith, and it has always been that way. Although, things change, of that I know personally…
My claws I dig hard into the ground, hoping to dispel and ignore some of the pain that gnaws at my back.
My brothers' stand silent, none of them daring to move, and as I avert my gaze from lord Kain, and slowly incline my head to look upon each of them, I know that they hold me no loyalty. My brothers, my siblings through eternity, they are going to just stand here and watch whatever is to befall me.
Turel, Dumah and Zephon remain emotionless, whilst Rahab gazes on me with uncertainty though his loyalty to lord Kain is unquestionable to the very end, for he would never falter from lord Kain's side, not even if it cost him his soul. Melchiah is only still coming to terms with the development of my gift, my gift… that is my curse.
It seems asinine, but I attempt to get back up. In a moment I have fooled myself in believing that perchance this might be lord Kain testing me. Testing me to see how strong his first-born is. The pain evidently makes me delusional.
With this ridiculous thought, ignoring in ignorance the fact that I have evolved before him and that this is no test, I attempt to get to my feet once more.
I get as far as my knees.
Then collapse, falling down back onto my chest and remaining still in defeat. Thoughts are lost to me; my pride and honour have been torn, shredded at the moment that my wings had been torn too. Perhaps my wings were the embodiment of my honour. The honour I feel for my clan, myself… and before that moment, always 'lord' Kain.
Humiliation and shame reign upon me. And I can see it in my brethren's eyes; all that remains of their highborn brethren is what once was. What now remains is nothing more then… a traitor. That is all they see, a traitor to their lord.
Without question and at the bidding of their lord, they will willingly judge me unkindly; throw me forth into the very gaping maw of fate.
My weary breathing echoes within the Pillar chamber, everything else is silenced; they are all looking upon the tarnished partisan lying upon the floor in front of them. Their gazes are cold, looking upon me in judgement and I feel that the Pillars do too.
The Pillars, no comfort have they ever brought my soul, cold, harsh structures of a long forgotten beauty. I imagine that perhaps they are laughing in deadly triumphant, that one of Kain's abominations would receive the treatment of this. I have been thrown at their feet, and throughout time I will be at their vagary.
I have never felt alone. It is not a feeling known to me, not when I have been the first born, not when I have had brothers, and not when I have had the company of my clan for many centuries. But now, that feeling is more dominant then any other.
Looking up once more, some strands of hair fall loose and obscure my sight, it's bonding having come undone. I have the overwhelming feeling and need to just fade away as I attempt to justify this action. I feel wounded; I am wounded, more mentally then physically, though the wound from where my wings had once been constructed moments before – causes enough pain. However, it is this mental pain that feels as if it is destroying me completely, taking me apart, bit-by-bit, and part-by-part.
Words remain choked within my throat, prose clotted with blood making speaking almost impossible, a combination of both pain and shock. Regardless, I am not permitted to speak, for traitors do not have the right to a voice. Yet it does not stop my thoughts from halting, thoughts that echo to never have a reply or one last request.
Kain, my lord, if I have done anything… erroneous… allow me to rectify. As you're chosen, you're first, allow me to heal it to right…
I chastise myself at allowing those thoughts to even pass my mind, for what do I have to rectify? More so they make me sound pathetic. Have I really done something so terribly wrong? Is not my gift of flight something to be looked highly upon? Am I so willing to beg forgiveness?
Oh think; think how our enemies would have looked in the deadly embrace of your empire, Kain.
But now, we shall never know.
Even at this moment I am so willing to fall at his feet, I am and always have been loyal to him, and my loyalty is unfaltering. Not once have I questioned him, not even as he observed my wings and ran his intruding claws through them. Not even when he destroyed my pride at the whim of his own desires.
Though as the taste of blood taints my tongue, it is then that the questions come.
What will come of this?
Am I to just except it?
Why has this been done to me?
The silence torments the fallen, and it watches me mercilessly.
Breathing becomes heavy, my chest heaves against the cold surface of the floor beneath me, will there be no end to this, or am I meant to lie here for an eternity, forever wounded?
I place my face against the floor; my skin barely conceding the coldness of the surface beneath me, for it is too far-gone in pain to notice a small trivial detail like that. I taste my own blood once more.
Another breath for what seems like a millennia has past between us. The image of how I had entered the Pillar chamber elapses through my mind, never had I foreseen this. I had been content in confidence, the last one to enter the antechamber, the council's eyes upon me.
Kain's face had been unreadable, and my brothers unemotional, although that was soon to change. There were questions that were asked silently, their eyes flitting from my face and then to my back, noting the change and the sudden enigma that my body beheld and the clandestine I was to show.
I knelt before our lord, a display of utmost loyalty and respect.
Slowly, I began to open my wings. It was a slight endeavour at first, for my newly fledged wings were slightly stiff, and the newest development I had yet to get used to. Nights before I had discovered that every-so often I had to open and flex my wings, otherwise cramp would set in. It was understandable, they were new, and with excited patience my fledglings would watch, helping me to unfold and re-fold them if I so needed aid.
The feelings I felt in unfolding my wings had been wonderful, dignity, and a certain hope that Kain would feel pride as well… How wrong I was…
Slight gasps echoed through the hall, and looks of surprise were upon the faces of many of the lords. I unfolded my wings to their full extent; they bloomed in full magnificence, holding my head high to embrace the reception of wonder that I received from the others.
My wings, beautifully delicate, fatal magnificence, what would have been deadly to my enemies had proved to be deadly to myself, the wielder of such.
Fine, delicate membrane stretched over the structure of elegant bone framework. In a matter of moments they would be reduced to tatters, the bone structure snapped and broken from my back, the membrane, torn and shredded in an extent to which they could never be repaired.
I had never had the chance to try them out, and now I can only dream of what it would have been like, to touch the skies of Nosgoth, to reach the heights of places where no one else could go. I would have been witness to things that others had not and would not be ever able to see. It would have been a dream wrought into reality, but now that is all it will ever be… a dream.
The wings curled slightly inwards as I stood. It was strange, it felt strange, and I had yet to adapt to my new adaptation of my body. The wings were sensitive to touch like the rest of my body. For hours, after emerging from the state of metamorphosis, I had sat alone and watched with a fascinated gaze at how I controlled them. Curling them back slightly, and then uncurling them, flexing them and touching them, noting at how sensitive the wing membrane was. The membrane, soft and spongy at touch, delicate and susceptible to tearing if one did not take proper care of them.
Displaying magnificence such as this was obligated to have certain reactions; I had always known this, though I had never imagined it would be to this extent. I understood my stage of evolution had gone beyond that of Kain's, and I only hoped that he would look past that and see the new advantage that he now had, the gift that had been bestowed upon his son would be a highly worthwhile one.
Our lord remained silent, and inside, from seeing his gaze, something of a cold grasp made its way into my senses, warning me and already making me weary. The atmosphere had lulled itself too quickly into silence; something was foreshadowing this moment, a foreboding that enclosed upon me quickly.
Kain walked forwards, stepping down off his throne at the base of the Pillar of Balance. As his steps brought him closer to me, I wanted to shy away, but reframed myself from doing so for concern of insult to our lord. Nevertheless, I felt dominantly possessive over my wings, they were mine, a gift for me and my children, and I could not help but feel this even more so when Kain reached out and touched them.
Intruding hands touching my skin, again that feeling of possessiveness, and I watched Kain as he walked around me, examining me from all sides, running his claws over the wing structure and membrane. First there had been a look of disbelief within his eyes, then a hint of astonishment, followed closely by inquisitiveness and that sudden urge to touch in what was almost a fledgling-like manner.
Kain disappeared out of my site when he went behind me, and I stood still so he could take a proper look. Truly a gift, I had thought, though still weary of someone being so close and touching them. I concluded that I felt like this because they were new to me and it was natural to feel possessive, like a Master watching over one of their closest fledglings, it is a natural thing to feel.
His venomous claws felt strange upon my wings, and he did not speak, though I wanted him to, wanted to hear if he approved.
A sickening sound of bone being torn suddenly out of skin.
I was stunned, wondering what had happened, a sudden burst of pain that bit with a fiery revenge. So unexpectedly my nerves were alight, rapidly one thousand massages of pain sought refuge within my mind.
A yelp escaped me, one that I could not hold in. The pain exploded from the nerves in my wings, rooting its way up and into my back, and then my limbs, my senses, and then my mind, devouring everything in its progression, pushing my pain barrier to the very limit.
I dropped to my knees, and then to my chest, a fresh riot of blood coming from the wound at my back, the craterous, cadaverous mark of where my gift had once been.
Doubled up in agony I coughed up blood, I can still taste it now, even as the dry remnants stain my mouth, my lips and my skin, as I am held firm within the grasps of my once brothers.
Orders are spoken but my senses and hearing are disorientated through blood loss and pain, a sordid combination.
They lift me up, placing me on my feet, and thoughts run thick in my mind: You would do this to your child? I think I hear laughter running through me. Is it reality, or just the thin tendrils of madness that I know are reaching for me?
Why not? Why not one of his children? He who has slaughtered so many within his lifetime, why not his own? Does he not have every reason to, have I not betrayed him?
No, for one cannot control evolution.
To feel their claws tightly holding my arms causes a riot of anger and hatred to suddenly serge through me. Sadness at first, then the red-hot fires of injustice, anger at why this has been done to me.
I remain shackled within their claws like some peasantry brute, though even if I had the strength to struggle free, I am still shackled to Kain by foolish loyalty.I will never place my loyalty in anyone again… only that of myself…
My once Master approaches now, and I stagger in my Vampiric bonds, drifting endlessly in a void of my own, created by delusional threads, torment and agony. My gaze is lowed, my head wilted, the fight in me has flowed endlessly out of my wounds, travelling with the pools of blood, immersing itself upon the floor.
I would fall down again if it were not for the ones who held me up.
My head is lifted and Kain tilts it to one side, running a claw down the side of my cheek as if to examine me and wonder where his most powerful Vampire went wrong, and when it became flawed. My gaze is captured in his own, both visions interlocking and he seems to understand and see something that the others and myself do not.
Perhaps we are all 'puppets' to Kain, manikins all suspended for the enjoyment of one, and he alone, holds the strings.
There is sudden hurt as Kain walks behind my captors and me. My body lunges forward and my back arches in a sudden natural response, an instinct developed in fear of feeling that pain even more, the pain that continues to sing, its vocals alight.
I do not trust my back being forcedly turned on him, lest he only inflicts more torture upon my decrepit body.
Again, he touches the membrane of my wings, what is left of them, and I am surprised that there is any at all. The bone structure and scaffold was what Kain tore away, and now I feel the broken and torn skin hang limply down my back, pain snagging its way up my nerve endings each time it sways lifelessly in this decadent hall.
Kain lifts the membrane, unfolding it and holding it out as if with a distant pleasure to observe his sadistic deed. A groan of pain escapes my lips as I attempt to bite back another cry of anguish, my teeth nearly biting through my tongue as I do so. The drying flakes of my own blood remain around by lips, marking my skin like some external disfigurement.
As Kain runs his claws against the membrane, I close my eyes.
I can still feel their hands upon my skin. I can still feel their touches of curiosity, it had been how Kain's had seemed at first… and then… and then nothing but pain…
My wing membrane is left to hang limply once more and I feel myself being lifted. My feet leave the floor as the other clan lords lift me up and memories stir.
The process had been tormenting, my body and soul had been ripped apart by this force of change, which had swept over me and made me dormant for many nights.
With an instinct so natural to me I had withdrawn from my clan, residing in my own chambers, bolting the doors tightly shut, embracing solitude, and not leaving my quarters no matter what. From there I had fallen agitatedly into rest, only waking every now and then to recognize the pain that had its way with me.
Whilst awakening and stirring from my womb of eternal rest, I had noticed the change straight away. In realisation I had stood in the middle of my chambers, turning around on the spot and trying to look over my shoulder so that I could look upon my wings fully. It was a frivolous task, one that did not accomplish anything, but my drunken mannerism of excitement as well as the aspects of change highlighted the playfulness of the moment.
Uncurling my wings for the first time startled me, startled me so much that I ended up sprawled upon the floor, looking at them firstly in exasperation, and then awe. The first moments had been ones of slight fear, though as I examined them more the fear dispersed. With the fear mastered I began to unfold them, though at first I had no control. Wings spread out, twisted and flapping uselessly behind me as I attempted to control them. Folding them again was yet another problem and within moments I had created quite a disarray, worried that I would soon damage my new gift if I did not put them away correctly.
With trembling hands I forced back the bolts on the doors to my chambers, and then opened them. I took a step over the threshold and staggered forwards, falling into a group of fledglings that had stood waiting each night, wondering if this night would be the one when I would reveal myself to them. That night they were rewarded with their patience, filled with their overall curiosity and need to see their Master after so many nights of being away from him.
Those that were there automatically reached out to support me, their gazes going from my face and then to my back, the wings, which two younger Vampires were now holding carefully to stop them catching anything and becoming damaged.
Whispers departed from them all."Wings?"
"Our lord has wings?"
I looked to the one who was leading the group who supported me, to one of my chairs, and as a reply I simply nodded and smiled at him. I knew what they would ask, and it was through respect that they held back, only touching to help me, though they wanted to touch more out of inquisitiveness. Soon there would be questions derived of 'May we touch them?'
I felt myself lifted and then eventually placed to rest in one of my chairs, though my wings proved to be a problem, and they prevented me from leaning back and resting. We struggled with this for a brief moment, and then upon deciding it would be easier, I dropped to my knees upon the floor, now allowing them all the time they wanted to for fill their marvelling minds.
Many of them seemed to be in awe as I leant forwards and stretched the fragile gift to their full extent. Opened fully, excitement hummed throughout the room.
They passed around me, weaving in and out of each other, arms extended and running their claws over my skin. It was a moment of exploration, no questions to be asked, for what was there to ask? We were all quite happy to just except this.
One Razielim came close and I gently ran my claws down their back, they shivered under my touch as I recognised their excitement. One night, they too would be gifted with the adornment of wings.
That is how the moments passed, moments of pure awe and discovery.
I had yet to show the others of the clan, nonetheless I was still fatigued, the little bit of standing and movement I had done, exhausted me, and I had yet to rebuild my strength that I had lost within change.
My wings twisted as once again I attempted to fold them, still not understanding the mechanics of them. With the help of my fledglings, who gently folded them, we managed to put them away in their correct position.
Having little strength left, I felt that it mattered not where I rested, and so, from my knees, I allowed myself to lower to the floor and stretch out fully, some of the fledglings settling beside me.
In contentment we lay together for a while, and the moments I had suffered at that hands of pain and change, all seemed worth it in gaining a moment of where I lay close to my fledglings like this. And from it, I had also gained a gift that would take our clan to the farthest reaches.
Those moments were contrasting compared to the one I face now. My fledgling's touches had been done in care and a moment of inquisitive nature whilst my brethrens grasps are not.My clan, we were to be gifted with flight… with wings…The thought remains fresh in my mind, and though I am faced with the uncertainty of these moments, I still look upon my clan with pride. My children, my clan… they too will evolve like me…
The recognition seizes me suddenly, if they too are to gain this gift then…
I struggle, for the first time I battle for release. My clan, my children! What will become of them?
In the ironclad grip of my captors, the struggle last for but moments, the pain resurfacing along with weariness. Yet the fight and demand for release burns endless within my mind, and although my body is held at their mercy, my soul fights their bonds. It is within this instant, that now I notice movement for the first time, and my thoughts allude me. We have been walking, them carrying me, for they know that I would not be able to walk and make it to our destination… Wherever that may be…
The sound of water cascading endlessly.
This sound of water that I now hear, beckons my senses and awakens me fully to my fate. The cliffs of the landscape arise around us, those jagged, harsh edges of the precipice, and the endless drop below.
There is no sound apart from the water falling. My brethren are silent, and Kain speaks no words. I have been given no answers to why this is happening to me. Kain only answers when he wishes to, and replies are not always to everyone's liking, but then, who are they to argue?
Our pace of walk has stopped. Though still being held I am dropped back to my feet, head downcast, weary and eyes closed. I open my eyes, another sudden realisation dawning on me. The stop of our progression in walking, the sound of the water falling… My eyes suddenly shoot open, I lift my head with a graveness that captures and snatches my soul.
Now I understand my fatality…
No one is going to question this; no one is going to ask for answers, no one is going to dispute my punishment. My brothers are here, not to stop this from happening to me, but to simply abet it, and I realise that no longer am I the traitorous one.
Kain turns his back on me, since our fated walk, the path to my doom, he has not once looked at me. Have I disgraced him so much? He refuses to look upon his first-born, refusing to answer these questions that he knows race desperately through my mind.
And my execution, what will it bring? What will happen afterwards? What about my clan? Their evolution…
Desperation runs through me, weakness pushed aside, and the fate that lies ahead now gives me a new strength in hope of fighting what is meant to be my end.
This moment is fragmented, everything is falling apart, my senses demand but one thing of me, that I must survive this situation no matter what…
Kain has retreated away from the edge and now we begin to walk forwards. I struggle again, and again, though now we are at the edge my struggle is quelled. The depths of below hold me in mesmerising trepidation and awe.
From Turel to Dumah and then to Kain, I glance… This moment slows, an agonising requiem standing on the very edge, the very split of existence and none existence, and it seems that this path has already been chosen for me… and I have no say in it.
The cycle throughout is endless… there seems to be no end.
I ask you, do you know what it is like to be a victim to fate?
"Cast him in."
…Those last words finalise everything…