Fifty FiveMature

I nodded slowly. I knew what She was saying was true, I just really didn't want to believe it. My goddess smiled sadly at me and touched my arm; She knew how I felt about each of them. She started walking back to Zoe and Nas. I followed absent-mindedly.

"What exactly did you do to me?" Zoe asked curiously.

Mother smiled. "It was a healing ritual. You were dying; there's usually a ceremony involved with transformations, but it is a dangerous, daunting and perilous one - only half survive. We couldn't do it to save you tonight because it would have taken too long to prepare, meaning we wouldn't have had long enough to complete it." She paused to gauge Zoe's reaction and continued when She saw Zoe was okay. "The Chant contains words that have no accurate translation into any modern language. I Myself have forgotten their meanings."

"What do the words do?" Zoe asked.

"Throughout history, humans have drawn conclusions about the soul. These conclusions have fallen into myth, and legend, despite their truth. Every human being has  two souls; their human one and an animal counterpart. In a vampiric transformation, the animal soul becomes one with the human soul and they bind together - which is what the Induction ritual is supposed to do. Humans have two souls; vampires have only one. It means that you take on more animalistic instincts and reactions, et cetera."

"What about the healing ritual?"

"It calls upon the animal soul and asks it to comfort its host which results in a vampire being healed. In your case, as it whispered to you, the souls twisted together in an eternal bond which only death can separate. These souls are the reason Afanasya has an illness called hypnoxia, often mistaken with hypoxia by human researchers. Nasya turned on her own; the spirits being drawn together in her fit of pure rage and vengeance."

Zoe turned to stare at Nas, who blushed slightly.

"Now, I really must be off. Places to create, dragons to speak with," She smiled.

Mother gave Zoe and Nas a hug, then embraced me and kissed my cheek.

After releasing me, she said, "Give my love to Riley, and Darran too, though I doubt he'll appreciate it at all. Oh, give him this too." She handed me an envelope with Darran's name on it.

I nodded to her and She smiled. All of a sudden, She burst into a swirling mix of ravens and magpies, which flew away at full speed.

Zoe was still staring at Nas, who was trying desperately to avoid her gaze. I smiled to myself, knowing Zoe would somehow manage to get Nas to spill the facts about her past at some point, maybe not all of them though - which was reasonable.

Nas seemed to suddenly 'remember' something as she rushed out of the hall, leaving Zoe and I alone. I held my hand out to her, which she took, and walked out of the hall with her .

 

The End

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