I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


    **Interlude 10 - An appetite no misery satisfies

    Fabien
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    Post  Fabien on Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:06 am

    After he had left Fakhir alone with her thoughts, the boy lingered just a little too long in the dimly-lit hall in the frail hope he might find his host waiting for him.

    When he was greeted only by the stillness of the house, he retreated to his room, and emerged when the shadows had grown rich and the lamps had begun to spark into life along the busy streets.

    Fabien did not like to be alone for long, and at once sought out the company of his friend. Free from her chores, and if not, then pestered into abandoning them, the boy managed to persuade Colombe into passing some of the evening in his room.

    The youth was evidently troubled, and his unusual quietness prompted the girl into suggesting they make use of the boy's playing cards. The games were played innocently enough at first, until the boy begged they play for winnings.

    And so, in this moment they were arranged in a sprawl on the plush rug on the boy's floor. Colombe surrounded with her pile of treasures, an old pin, several buttons and selection of coins which had been in the room since the boy's arrival. And Fabien, empty handed and irritable.

    "Ah, ç'est impossible! My luck is shot through. I have never lost so many rounds." He groaned despairingly, and began to gather together the cards. They were shuffled in a blur of red and white, moving with impossible speed between his agile fingers.

    The boy caught the girl's eye, and noticing her interest in the practised flit of his fingers, he grinned.

    "It is not so hard. The cards know where they want to be," he murmured, and allowed them to cascade from one palm to the other.

    "Here, I can teach you a simple one. First, all is split in two, then they slot together, but only at corners here, like weaving. Then bend their spines, just a little, and let them flow."

    The cards were separated and merged in a wing-like flutter, gliding liquid fast between his palms. When his little demonstration was complete, the urchin tapped the cards together and offered them to her with crooked smile.

    "Now you try it."
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    Post  Tariq on Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:57 pm

    Colombe was as smug as a dragon on her hoard of newly-acquired treasures. The painted button she worried between her calloused fingers did not stop her from quickly becoming distracted by this novelty and it was readily abandoned. Her hand was bold when she held it out to accept his offer but turned tentative as she attempted to mimic his gesture.

    Clumsily, she folded two stacks of cards together, tapping the edges on the floor to straighten them, and then, with a quick glance his way, she bowed them inward.

    The unruly cards leapt outward and she laughed, her rare, earnest, golden laugh, as they spilled from her hands like wriggling fish.

    She gathered them in a pile on the rug, still giggling, but when she raised her head she swiftly fell silent. Her body tensed so suddenly that she uttered a sharp gasp of breath.

    Lacrima watched the pair from the doorway with wolfish interest. Her dark eyes shone where the light glanced.

    Colombe rocked back on her heels, her eyes turned aside. Her lips were silently forming words that the boy would doubtless recognize as the opening lines of the Lord's prayer.

    Lacrima cleared her throat.

    “Bonjour,” she murmured stiffly, the word uncomfortable in her mouth. Her voice was rough and low, pleasing in its husky warmth.

    She shifted uncomfortably in the doorway. Her eyes roamed the room, taking in the lavish bed and disheveled blankets, lingering on the girl knelt on the fine rug before coming to a halt on Fabien. She gestured down the hall with a flick of her fingers in indication he should follow.
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    Post  Fabien on Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:53 am

    Fabien watched his friend with an eager, sharp-eyed interest, chin lazily cupped in his palm. The tender uncertainty of her hands caused his boyish smirk to deepen, and when the cards leapt from her grasp, the urchin laughed with her.

    "Hm, well it, it is a start I suppose." He teased, shaking his head.

    He plucked a stray card from the floor with two fingers, and waved the solitary red queen in front of his eyes. His features were luminous with delight, and momentarily, painfully care-free.

    "It is just a matter of trust. Here, le-"

    The boy had been about to offer Colombe the last card, when her sudden change of expression and caused him to sit up sharply. He turned at the waist, and seeing the dark-eyed vampire waiting there, his skin grew pale.

    "Oh, Bonjour Lacrima. Madame Fakhir must want to see me now?" He asked, and offered her a somewhat uncertain smile as he rose slowly to his feet. His hands swept  nervously over his clothes, making small, unnecessary adjustments.

    "I have to go now Colombe… I... I will see you later, non?" He murmured, his voice warm with affection.

    "She is just along here, Lacrima?" The urchin prompted again, eager to fill the silence in the room, whether she understood or not.

    Fabien paused in the doorway, and turned to meet her unearthly eyes before he disappeared into the shadows of the hall.
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    Post  Tariq on Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:49 am

    Colombe's demeanor lost the sharpest of its wary edge when Fabien greeted the pale intruder in the doorway. She watched the pair from the corner of her eye, her head still turned aside.

    Lacrima leaned back to allow the boy to pass. She spared one last look at the room and the girl left on the rug with her baubles sprinkled around her before she turned to follow.

    She trailed behind him in silence. The curtains were drawn at the landing to the stairs, dusting them in charcoal darkness. Fabien's uninterrupted stream of babble sounded thin, swallowed in the ceaseless quiet of the shadowed house.

    When they descended the stairs and the boy faltered, Lacrima took the lead without a word, guiding them to the rooms to the right of the house.

    She paused before the final door at the end of the hall - had they gone any further, they would have no choice but to enter the night-drowned courtyard. Her hand rested on the door handle.

    La afham ma taqoul,” she said, a note of idle exasperation colouring the words. She opened the door and entered the room without pause for the boy to answer.

    He had little reason to frequent this side of the house, but the boy might recall that this room had once belonged to his friend, and it was not so changed that she would not recognize it. A large bed dominated the room, flanked on one side by a desk with a three-paneled mirror that allowed it to double as a vanity. A small nook had been carved from the opposing wall for two chairs and a small table.

    But alterations had been made - on either side of the desk, the great stalks of a green plant unfurled from large pots, their tasseled heads bowed as though in contemplation. The desk itself was littered with strange trinkets - glass bottles, a wicked looking black-handled knife, the skull of some horned creature. A sturdy, iron-bound chest rested with open mouth before the bed.

    Fakhir was seated at the desk with her back to the pair, bowed over the book she was writing in. She had changed since the boy had last seen her, her subdued attire replaced by a silky, flowing gown the deep red of an abattoir floor. It bared her throat and the blueish black skin of her wrists.

    "Merci, hayati," she said, without turning. Lacrima murmured a response under her breath and moved to the bed. Fakhir set her pen down and stood, her sleeves billowing like a drop of blood in water.

    The mirror behind her reflected the length of the room, cast Fabien's wan features back at him - but neither of the vampires echoed across the smooth glass.

    "Come, boy," Fakhir said, gesturing to the table and accompanying chairs. "Sit with me."

    She took her own seat and crossed her legs to the side. A match flared in her hand and she lit the pipe between her teeth before putting it out with a wave of her hand. Coiled smoke rose from the bowl of gnarled wood and she regarded him with her golden eyes.

    “I would like you to begin, because I do not know what you do not know,” she said, her breath fragrant with resinous herbs. “I will speak true with you, but I can only tell you what I can, oui?”

    She leaned back in her seat, her eyes upon him.

    "Let us begin with what you know of your Sayyidi."
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    Post  Fabien on Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:16 pm

    Fabien appeared relieved to have finally reached Fakhir's room. He entered swiftly and secured the door behind him with a sharp breath. He took a few tentative steps into the room, his hands nervously clasped together as his attention flitted about the room. He paused to consider the mirror before he was drawn to her desk.

    "Oui, Madame. I understand."

    He did as he was bid, slipping into one of the empty chairs arranged before her. His smooth brow pinched as he struggled to find the end of a thread from where he might begin. Then, with a look of resignation, he started to speak.

    "D'accord, but know that when first I spoke with him Madame, I was still very sick from his teeth. He told me some things then, but they hold in my mind like a dream does, you know?"

    The boy began to toy with the cuff of his sleeve, his lockpickers fingers worrying a polished button. He lifted his head to meet her amber gaze.

    "What I think I know is this. That he died a long time ago, when the old gods were closest to earth. He was killed, for what reason I don't understand. Once he spoke of a beast? And this was how he died? But then later, he also mentions a man, un guérisseur I think, who tries to help him. Ah, but it is hard to follow."

    The urchin drew two fingers to his temple, and caressed the flesh there as he struggled to bring his memories into sharper focus

    "He has told me he was reborn, and from that time he is a hunter of men. He lives now in this state, he takes the blood, the life, and it does not trouble him to do so."

    The boy shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his lips half-parted as though he had more to add on this. But he appeared to change his mind, and offered something else.

    "And he says that nothing can harm him. That there is nothing that would be a danger to him." His voice was soft with awe.

    The grey eyed youth turned in his chair, and gestured towards the large mirror. "Pardon Madame, but is it witchcraft? Magic?"
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    Post  Tariq on Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:43 pm

    Fakhir's bright gaze remained level with the boy as he spoke.

    "I cannot speak to how he came to die," she said, smoke curling from her lips. "It was long before I was born, and it is not my story to tell."

    She considered a moment in silence before adding, "But I will say that men and beasts are many times one, comme vous le savez."

    She allowed the boy to continue, murmuring a soft breath at his claim that nothing could hurt his host, but otherwise remaining silent. When he gestured toward the mirror she turned to follow, although it was several seconds before she realized to what he referred.

    "Non," she said, a trill of humour in the word. "It is not even mine. It is - l'argent? The silver on the backing." She rapped her knuckles on the surface of the table as though to illustrate. "The silver rejects my - non, the - blood. Let me show it."

    She stood to fetch the knife from the desk and called to Lacrima, who bent over the side of the bed and rummaged in the trunk. She offered her prize to Fakhir, who returned to the table with both blade and the delicate spike of a silver hairpin in her hands.

    "Look here," she said, and with a firm grip, drew the sharp blade across the center of her palm. The blood rose in rich blackberry tones and pooled dark in her palm.

    Carefully, she laid the knife down and set the hairpin across her palm. The blood responded furiously, blackening with a sizzle. Smoke rose as though she had put a hot brand to her flesh.

    She lifted the hairpin and rolled it between two fingers before the boy's eyes. The surface was clear, undiluted by tarnish or blood. An acrid smell hung in the air.

    "It seeks to be rid of the blood," she said, dropping the pin to the table with a clatter. She wiped the blood from her palm before returning to her seat. "And will not show it, even on the glass."

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    Post  Fabien on Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:10 am

    Fabien drew in closer to observe her, his expression bright with interest. The boy was not squeamish, he did not recoil at the sight of her drawing blood, but flinched sharply when it crackled and smoked from her palm. His fingers moved to his mouth, and the youth softly cleared his throat before continuing.

    "So it is bad for you? But why? It becomes mauvais sang, like a curse? A bad thing?"

    Suddenly the image of Colombe on her knees in his room returned to him, her pale lips forming those silent prayers over and over. The boy worried the flesh at the edge of his thumb with his teeth.

    "And this is … the same for all of- " He paused, and his eyes flickered briefly to Lacrima before his attention returned. "-Your kind, Madame?" He asked softly.

    "Are there many others ...out there who are like this?"

    There was a faint touch or sadness in his voice, as though the boy could not quite remember what the world was like beyond the confines of his elegant prison.
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    Post  Tariq on Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:35 pm

    Fakhir flexed her hand on the table as though to test the wound she had made as the boy spoke.

    “Yes, the same for us all,” she said idly, her gaze caught like a firefly between her curled fingers. “We have different poisons, that is all. What would kill you does not touch me, and what you can grasp freely burns my blood.”

    She moved to put the pipe to her lips once more, listening leisurely to Fabien’s question as she lit it.

    “They have words for us - vampyr, Şeytan, wampir - but the cat is not named by the sparrow, and we do not have one name for what we are. I will say the bila'ahlam, the people of no dreams, d'accord?”

    She tapped the side of her nose. “For the dead do not dream in sleep.”

    The vampire breathed a smoky sigh before continuing.

    “Not many, non. A few, and fewer still as we are lost to the weight of time, and it is not-” She stopped, swallowed the rest of the sentence, and leaned with her arm around the back of her chair to regard him.

    “Your friend,” she said carefully, wisps of grey smoke tangling in her hair. “Thinks we are made of plague. From sickness. It is water blessed by le prêtre she carries, mixed with a brew they say protects grave-robbers from la peste of the dead.”

    Her smile bared the sharp points of her ivory teeth. “It is a clever, if useless, ploy.”

    She considered her words before continuing. “You know we have died, but are not dead. What, do you suppose, distinguishes us from the dead in the grave? Do you have your thoughts on how I, with beating heart and speaking mouth, am still a corpse?”
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    Post  Fabien on Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:18 am

    "Bila'ahlam," Fabien repeated slowly, testing the word on his tongue.

    The boy listened to her speak without appearing to draw a breath. His heart turned quick in his throat, and some colour licensed the pallid skin at his cheeks and throat.

    "Do you find it hard, to live for so long Madame?" He asked with aching interest, his grey eyes daring to meet hers.

    At the mention of Colombe, the boy's eyes were quickly downcast.

    "Oh, so that is the reason for her potion." He murmured softly, and suddenly appeared uncomfortable. He drew his hand to the nape of his neck, where it remained as he held the weight of her question in his mind.

    The boy's feline eyes narrowed to slits as he attempted to construct an explanation.

    "This is - Monsieur tells me it is not so, but- this is how I have seen it." He began carefully.

    "When I was still living wild on the streets, sometimes women would come from the churches to bring blankets and scraps of food. And in winter months, they would beg we come inside.

    They would read to us passages from the holy book. They showed us pictures pressed with gold, of fire and devils with curling teeth and scaled bodies. I felt it was not just our bodies they feared would perish out there, but whatever good things exist inside, invisible things.

    Sometimes, I fear each time he puts his teeth to me, I sacrifice a piece of what those women wished to protect. I remember they said when evil came for us, it would not be in such an image. It would be magnifique, irrésistible."

    The boy's eyes lifted to meet hers once more.

    "They would not ask for our souls, but tempt us in such a way we would gift them over with ribbons.

    I am not as clever as my friend. But it seems to me, the dead sleep in their graves, at peace. They do not take from the living, they do not wander the night with such appetites. But you, and Monsieur, still you must take. And I do not know for what end.

    He says it is not so, but it looks damnation, Madame. Like something has been taken from you, made wrong."
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    Post  Tariq on Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:30 pm

    Fakhir put her cheek on her hand at the boy’s question. She considered him in silence, her amber eyes hazy as though she were looking toward the horizon.

    Non, not hard,” she said at last. Her breath was grey with smoke. “I have been dead, and there is no pleasure in it.”

    She stroked her bottom lip with the sharp nail of her thumb. “Here, among the living, there is pleasure in all things.”

    The vampire did not elaborate, but let Fabien speak. She toyed idly with the pipe between her hands as she listened. When he raised his eyes, he would find she steadily met his gaze.

    There was a long silence after he concluded. She breathed in a pensive breath of smoke and did not release it.

    “I do not know,” she said carefully. “About damnation, or what value there is in the pictures in books. I cannot say whether you speak true.”

    She exhaled slowly, her breath herbaceous and redolent of smoldering resin. “Let me tell it as it is for me.”

    “When bila'ahlam are made, a being is cleaved in two. Some have it as the âme - such as it is - and the body; I think instead it is the parts that love light and those that love darkness. One remains on this side of the mirror-” She gestured at the mirror on the desk, markedly empty of Lacrima’s reflection patently eavesdropping from the bed. “And is ever gone from the other.”

    “The lover of light is killed. She dies to destroy the chains that hold one in bondage to death.”

    She shook her head.

    “But I do not think you answer what I ask, boy. What has happened to make bila'ahlam instead of the sleeping dead?”

    She rapped two fingers impatiently on the table in a gesture reminiscent of his host.

    “I have already given it away. ‘When bila'ahlam are made’ - made. We are made, kindled, called from the sleeping and back to wander the night, as you say. It is not sickness or chance, it is a choosing - and the blood. These are what separates us from the dead sleeping in the grave.”
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    Post  Fabien on Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:44 pm

    Fabien nodded thoughtfully at Fakhir's answer, though his eyes were still dark and troubled. He chewed the skin of his lower lip between his teeth.

    "Monsieur says of it the same. That the dying brings no answer, only nothingness." He murmured, his throat tight.

    "So, you are changed, both inside and out? Something is sliced away? And it is the goodness which goes, and is lost? To be free of death, it seems there must be some price to pay?" He asked softly, his eyes fixed on the gleam of mirror glass.

    The boy slipped back into silence, his limbs and youthful brow furrowed as he attempted to follow all that she said. A question crept into his throat and haunted his parted lips, but was swallowed. The youth seemed to dwell deeply on her words, until with a sharp breath he lifted his eyes again and spoke.

    "Made? Made how? What is it to be made?" He asked, in a voice that trembled with uncertainty.

    "Who does this making? Why would it happen? For what reason is the choosing? And all performed by the same being?"

    The youth's breathless interest slowly dissolved into something sharper of edge. His questions were directed with a crystalline intensity, and there was a focus in his eyes that had not been there before.

    He startled, appearing to sense the change in his manner, and released a hissed breath between his clenched teeth. Slowly he relaxed his spine into the back of his chair, his eyes heavy- lidded and tired. He passed a nervous flutter of fingers across his brow.

    "Forgive me, Madame… I did not - I was not aware, I- it is a lot. I do not wish to speak out of turn."
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    Post  Tariq on Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:02 pm

    Fakhir fell still as the boy began to speak. Something in his answer seemed to ignite a golden spark in her eyes.

    "The goodness?" she said, her voice soft despite the blackened crackling of her gaze. "Have I been unkind to you, boy? Have I treated you with cruelty in inviting you here, that you might learn something of your Sayyidi?" Her sharp teeth flashed a cutting ivory. "And even he - do you think him incapable of mercy, of tenderness? Do you think so meanly of us to think us devoid of all goodness?"

    She exhaled a hot breath and leaned back in her seat. For a time she was silent, her dark eyelids concealing her gaze. Lacrima shifted uneasily and murmured something to which Fakhir responded in the negative.

    She reached without looking for her pipe. The sweet scent filled the room as the vampire breathed the smoke in twisting streams from her nose. She opened her eyes, shaking her head, blue-grey smoke tangling in the curls of her hair.

    "Non," she said wearily. "We are not cleaved of all goodness, though you may think whatever base aspersions you wish on the matter. I have told you how it is - we die, we return changed, we take of the blood."

    She crossed one leg over the other and rested an elbow on the table laconically. The warm umber of her skin was such rich contrast to the bloody scarlet of her gown that it seemed to be ablaze when she moved.

    "What is it to be made," she repeated musingly. Her fingertip drew a lazy figure eight on the table's surface.

    "Those with the blood choose, of course. Who else? I made Lacrima, so she might be with me-" The woman on the bed lifted her brows at mention of her name, but did not interrupt. "-although I did not have the pleasure of being the one to kill her. I chose, I shared the blood, and she awoke from her sleeping to be bila'ahlam."

    There was a glint of predatory humour to her gaze when she looked to him. "And I did so because it pleased me to do so, and because it is my right. That is all there is to why it should happen."
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    Post  Fabien on Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:43 am

    Fabien at once realized his mistake, for he flinched back in his seat like one scorched. The boy lowered his eyes, and his words gushed forth in a frantic burble of nervous explanations.

    "N-non, Madame. You have been very good to me. Monsieur shows me kindness. Je suis desole, I-I did not mean - I thought only of the killing, Madame. Only of the bodies which lay still on the grass here."

    The urchin continued to shift nervously in his seat, his jaw clenched and shoulders stiff. But he grew attentive when Fakhir continued to speak, and his eye moved whippet fast to the vampire on the bed. His eyes grew wide, and a stillness seemed to fall upon him like a veil.

    The boy lifted his grey eyes back, his smooth plain of his brow once again pinched with thought. When it seemed she had no intention of banishing him from her sight, he questioned her again.


    "Does the maker always stay so close with those they return?" He asked tentatively. "Then, who was it that made Monsieur? Where are they now?"
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    Post  Tariq on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:12 am

    The boy’s anxious apology seemed to mollify the vampire, and she leaned back in her seat with some of the tension dissolved from her jaw. However, she snorted at his talk of bodies.

    “The killing,” she said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Does not forbid one from goodness. Do not mistake it.”

    She settled back to hear his careful question out. Something in his words raised the corner of her mouth.

    “The maker," she said smokily. "And the made have a bond of the blood they share." She interlaced her fingers together as though to illustrate. "It is hard to be divided."

    She seemed to consider her next words carefully.

    "Sayyed Tariq is very old," she said. "And his maker was old already when the pyramids were new. They are… gone, now. That is all I can say - you will have to ask him if you wish to know more."

    She ran a hand through her hair and glanced at Lacrima in the same manner as one checking a watch for the time.

    "What else is there to know," she said, her amber gaze returning to Fabien. It was not quite a question, but her silence made it clear she expected a reply.
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    Post  Fabien on Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:50 am

    Fabien watched the gesture of her hands with quiet interest. His hands had ceased their tireless fussing, and clasped the arms of his chair with white-knuckled force.

    His attention returned briefly to Lacrima, he turned his head  back to Fakhir, his expression dark with confusion. When it seemed she would reveal no further details of his master's creator, the boy released an unhappy breath.

    Oh." He replied, softly disappointed. "Oui, I will try to talk with him about it."

    The boy moved with feline restlessness, the heels of his bare feet scuffing the floor.

    "It is difficult to speak with him sometimes. I do not always-"

    Whatever he meant to add was banished with a shake of the head, and the boy questioned her further.

    "But, how does it happen, Madame? How can you give life from death?" The boy leant forward in his seat,, resting so tentatively on the edge that it made the wooden legs crack and groan like a fire. "What makes it so? A ritual?"

    He swallowed, and his finely shaped eyes seemed to look beyond her.

    "But still I do not understand why it angers Monsieur that I should know this. Because I am of the living? Because you must be secretive, this is dangerous knowledge?"

    Fabien met her bright gaze again, and a faint trembling crept into the muscles of his shoulders.

    "And- and what value of this is there to me? When I am only a passing interest for him? Some small entertainment to occupy his time in this ... endlessness? It matters nothing whether I know such mysteries or not."

    The boy's breath grew rapid, his voice strangled  as he struggled to comprehend the immensity of such things.

    "Je- je suis desole Madame, you do me a great kindness. But if what you say is true, I have only a year or so before his interest tires, maybe less. And I do not have the learning or understanding to keep it strong."


    Last edited by Fabien on Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Post  Tariq on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:24 am

    Fakhir shook her head, the white bones strung around her neck clattering softly.

    "Boy," she said. "I do not speak in tongues. It is the blood that awakens the sleeping."

    She lifted her palm with its bloody smear across the center. The dark line of the wound she had cleft had already knitted together.

    "The blood - our blood - in the mouths, veins of the bloodless. It is that simple, although 'simple' does not mean it is an easy thing."

    Her countenance softened as Fabien continued.

    "It is not that you should know that angers him," she said. "It is that I interfered, and that you agreed to be interfered with. It will burn itself out."

    When this reassurance did not abate the tight strain of his troubled breathing, the vampire leaned forward in her seat.

    "Ecoutez," she said softly. She reached across the table and, with the most delicate of touches, lifted his chin to meet her golden eyes. Her skin was cool as stone.

    "If a hare comes to me with a snare around his throat and asks what it should do, I do not say to do what honours the hare.

    "The hare wishes to run and jump in the forest, but if the snare becomes stuck and tightens, he will die. So he must move carefully, and only jump when he knows it is safe.

    "The hare is a lover of the day and wishes to live in the sun, but the gleam of the metal around its neck attracts those that would eat him, so the hare must only come from the safety of its hole to a world of shadow."

    "The hare belongs to the snare at its throat now - I can only tell him to act in the nature of the snare, and not himself."

    Her hand left him and she turned her gaze away.

    "I do not say these things to be unkind, but only to illuminate the road. There are two paths ahead of you - to belong, wholly, to Sayyed Tariq, in all things, or to die."

    She straightened the fabric of her sleeve with a brush of a finger and turned her attention back to him.

    "What I have told you will help you follow a path. That is all I can do."

    She was silent for a moment, her mouth contemplative.

    "But, if I may say so; you have forgotten, again, how old your Sayyidi is, how quickly the years pass. You must look out to the horizon to see a time where his interest could wane."

    She stirred a finger in a circle on the table. "I am perhaps one of his oldest friends, saghirti, and it is not idle talk for me to say I know something of him. And I can say it has been a very, very long time since anyone has stirred the dust of his heart as you do. It is more than you know."
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    Post  Fabien on Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:57 pm

    Fabien stared wonderingly at the freshly healed skin of her palm. The boy appeared briefly distracted, and he seemed to startle at her voice. He caught the flesh of his lower lip between his teeth.

    "And has - has Monsieur ever before done this? Brought back another with the blood?" He rasped uncomfortably, as if the question was dredged from the back of his throat.

    The boy's breath grew less ragged at Fakhir's gentle touch, though his pulse was still wild in his throat. Its quivering beat did not lessen as he followed the vampire's words with unflinching devotion. But something in her explanation plucked an uncomfortable chord in the urchin's chest, and his grey eyes reddened with sorrow.

    He let loose a shuddering breath, and with it hot tears fell upon the sharp curve of his sun deprived cheek. The boy raised a faintly trembling hand and hastily swept them aside.

    "Ça me fait peur." The youth confessed thickly. "What if I do not know what it means to belong to him, Madame?" He asked despairingly.

    "I struggle to even -… I do not know what he wants of me. I do not know what truly pleases him. And already I have made mistakes."

    The boy's hand returned to scrub irritably at to his cheek.

    "If it is a power I have that keeps my blood still heavy in my veins, I do not know how to use it."
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    Post  Tariq on Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:24 pm

    There was no delay in Fakhir's reply - her answer came on the next breath after the boy’s question, nary a tremble of eyelash to indicate hesitation. “Yes,” she said.

    She leaned back as though to consider what of this she ought to reveal. The scarlet of her dress contrasted richly with the thin, blue-black skin of her wrists as she traced a gentle line down the center of her forehead with the back of a finger as though to recall the memories inside.

    "Though they are ash and river mud now," she said. "It is very like your Sayyidi to sate his thirst for knowledge by the blood of others, hm?" There was a hint of distaste in the words, the merest curl of lip to suggest the topic was a displeasing one, but she rolled her shoulders and continued without further elaboration.

    "It is not a thing you must use," she said. Her words were soft and warm as embers. "You need not struggle each time you are confused or afraid. To return to the hare; the struggle only tightens the snare, oui?"

    Despite the lack of breeze in the room, the green leaves of the tall plants behind him whispered and rustled. Fakhir's golden eyes looked to their tasseled heads swaying softly before returning to the boy before her.

    "It would be good," she said, her teeth white and sharp. "To let the darkness fall where it may."

    Lacrima cleared her throat and murmured something from the bed and Fakhir responded in monosyllable, her bright gaze still on Fabien.

    "You are welcome to bring your questions to me while I am here," she said. "Or talk, if you would like. But I see I have filled your head and you have much to think on for now."

    It was hard for the boy's wet cheeks to muster much of a defense against the kind dismissal.
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    Post  Fabien on Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:03 pm

    Fabien grew still at her answer, and a shiver passed through his thin body. The boy's breath grew harsh in his throat as he listened, and his grey eyes followed the movement of her lips as she spoke.

    In the silence in-between the sound of her voice, the urchin fidgeted in his chair, his salt-stung eyes veiled beneath heavy lids.

    "This was then long ago?" He pried, his voice almost a whisper.

    "Ah, I wish I understood better, Madame." He rasped mournfully, and smoothed his palms over his thighs. Though there was a thoughtfulness in his eyes that suggested he intended to turn her words over in his mind until for some time yet.

    Fakhir's dismissal clearly stung the boy, but he accepted it with a respectful, if not half-hearted grace.

    "Oui, oui I… I have learned many things. Merci Madame, for speaking on this with me." He croaked, his voice small and faintly preoccupied.

    The youth offered the vampire a thin smile as he rose from his chair, his movements slow and uncertain. His long lashes gleamed in the candlelight, wet with valiantly contained sorrows. And the flesh about his mouth trembled with carefully restrained emotion.

    "Bonsoir, Madames."He murmured softly, and turned from them to depart.
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    Post  Tariq on Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:17 pm

    Fakhir was not insensible to the effect her answer had on the boy and she scrutinized him with wary intensity before turning her gaze aside, rustling as she moved in her seat.

    “Long ago to you, yes,” she confirmed in a gentle murmur. “To speak their names would be to stir dust.”

    This appeared to be the last she was willing to divulge on the matter. She stood when Fabien rose, her flowing gown a bright splash of blood. Her face was half-concealed in shadow as she approached.

    Avec plaisir,” she said, eyes gleaming gold as though her veins ran molten. She stooped and pressed the back of the boy’s hand to her mouth, lips only delicately grazing the skin. Her breath was cool as a slither of night air. “I will be here for a while yet, and we will speak again.”

    Lacrima offered a cursory nod of her head as farewell and shut the door behind him, cutting off the wan light of the room with a snap.

    Fabien would, perhaps, be accustomed to the character of this dark house after his many months within it; the wistful stirring of the half-drawn curtains, the smell of gathered dust and aging wood, the pensive grumble and creak as the floorboards and beams settled into their nocturnal repose. His feet made a familiar tread on the carpet as he navigated his way through the gloom. Colombe had made herself scarce and he would have no companion but the silvered light of the silent moon as he silently ascended the curved staircase, his heart heavy and his mind full.

    The austere double doors to the vampire’s bedroom were firmly shut, which was neither unusual nor surprising. However, as Fabien approached his own door he would take note of something that was both; a soft light poured from beneath the crack in the door, glowing like a warm beacon. The sounds of movement could only faintly be heard, but as the boy drew near there came the unmistakable tenor of the vampire’s voice lifting from beyond the door.
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    Post  Fabien on Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:49 am

    When Fakhir drew the boy's hand to her mouth, his pale cheeks burned red as a flame. He responded with a stiff, awkward nod of the head, and dared only momentarily to meet the amber of her eyes.

    "I am glad of it, Madame." The boy replied softly, his expression warm with gratitude.

    Fabien had stopped at the entrance to his room, his spine unstrung, and arms slung low at his sides. At the signs of lie within his host's room, he straightened and began to approach with the slinking curiosity of an alley cat

    The boy froze at the sound of the vampire' voice, his interest melting into cold uncertainty. He captured the flesh of his lower lip between his teeth, and shifted his weight between his bare feet.

    The boy splintered his indecision with a shake of the head, and pressed closer with jaw clenched. He strode purposefully towards his host's door, and knocked with a nervous flit of the wrist.

    "M-monsieur ah - m-may I speak with you, s-s'il vous plait?" The boy stammered, his hands trembling at his sides.


    Last edited by Fabien on Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post  Tariq on Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:20 pm

    The sounds of movement died away at the knock to the door. There was a murmur, the vampire’s voice lowered to a whisper, and a rustle and groan of wood. The boy’s nervous heart would have the opportunity to thud several times against his ribs before the door swung open to reveal his host.

    The vampire was wholly undressed, his bare chest flushed to a warm ocher. A single hand held a thin bed sheet that did precious little to preserve his modesty around his waist, the excess fabric trailing rakishly from his bed. The tousled bedclothes were illuminated in the soft light of a single, flickering light.

    “Fabien,” he said, as though surprised to find the boy at his door. He had the audacity to be short of breath. His hair was tangled in loose curls that he swept over his bare shoulder with a rake of his unoccupied hand.

    There was movement behind him, a parting of rumpled blankets, and Fabien was apt to glimpse a flash of exposed skin, a whorish twisting of a naked waist and a pretty, dark mouth that not so much called as mewled a breathless, “Monsieur?”

    The vampire’s pale pupils dilated. He slumped dispassionately against the wooden frame and pulled the door against him, blocking the boy’s view of the contents of the room.

    “I am a touch preoccupied,” he said, his voice hoarse in the back of his throat. “Can it hold for another time?”
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    Post  Fabien on Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:01 pm

    Fabien's finely shaped eyes grew luminous at the sight of his host. He leaned towards the vampire with the naive eagerness of youth, as though he half expected to feel the doting press of his hand, the warmth of his forgiveness.

    The cool indifference in the vampire's greeting dimmed the light in the boy's expression. He shied away in embarrassment, his lips parted. But whatever he had meant to say died immediately in his throat.

    The boy was rarely, if ever, left speechless. His eyes moved over the shape of the stranger in his host's bed with vacant dismay.

    The pain seeped in slowly. It pooled at the back of his throat first, before it bled from between his teeth in the whine of a wounded animal.

    The boy searched the vampire's sightless gaze for answers, and finding none, he merely nodded.

    "I will go. I will go now," he replied vacantly, his movements slow, like one in a trance.

    The youth did not await a response. He lurched away in agony, stumbling over his feet.

    The silence of the house was then briefly disturbed by the sound of a door slamming, and a harsh thud as the boy's spine collided with solid wood.
    Alone, in the confines of his room, he crumbled. He fell into himself, limbs lifeless, before with a shuddering gasp he lowered his head into his arms and wept.

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