Demrin’s eyes fluttered open in the half light. The room was lit by one lamp, set on the bedside cabinet. He was still very weak; he had to fight to push himself into a sitting position. Shadows crowded the corners of his vision, teasing him, taunting him.

He was alone in the room; Calla and Adder were likely enjoying each other’s presence, the other two, he did not know. He tried to reach for his magic; to see if he could touch it yet. When he tried, a severe burning racked his body, causing him to spasm several times.

The door opened and Calla entered, supporting Adder who had one arm draped over her shoulders. Demrin turned his head to face them.

“Demrin, you’re awake!” Calla said. Adder merely stared at him. “You have no idea how grateful I am for what you did to help Adder”.

Demrin nodded. “I did it for you, Calla”.

Calla’s eyes welled up again and she turned her face away to hide it. Adder moved forward and stood next to the bed, his eyes scrutinising Demrin who stared right back. He could feel the tension, it would never fully dissipate.

The vampire sighed, and then began to speak.

“I want to thank you, for saving me that is. I know the risk you undertook performing the ritual, having to channel those shadows through yourself. I am extremely grateful. It should have killed us both”.

The shadows were still crowding the edges of Demrin’s vision. They appeared to be clawing at the air, attempting to completely obscure his sight. He felt a severe headache beginning to set in, the shadows penetrating his mind.

“It should have, but it didn’t. You are welcome, but I shall say it once again, I did it for Calla, not for you. If she had not been a part of the equation, I would not have attempted it”.

“I completely understand. I attempted to kill you, you owed me nothing. I, however, now owe you”.

Demrin nodded. Calla came over and wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly.

“Thank you Demrin”, she whispered in his ear. He hugged her back, then released her as the strain became too much. He needed rest. Calla must have sensed it, as she smiled, then took Adder’s hand and led him away.

Demrin sighed with relief, falling back against the headboard. He slid down onto the bed. The shadows had now almost completely covered his eyes, leaving only a slim sliver of vision, and even that was a blur. His insides were writhing, his flesh burning. The shadows consumed him and he fainted into blackness.

The End

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