World of DarknessMature

He awoke, several hours later in the cave. His wound was nowhere to be found and he soon realized that there was a very great strangeness with which he perceived the world now. The encounter with the beast the night before felt as far away as childhood and he was nearly convinced that it had all been a dream. Daylight burst forth at the caves opening, and although he sat in the darkness of the cave, he yearned to go toward it, yet something held him back It was the same feeling that held his hand from putting it into the flames of a fire as a child, it was an instinct, but a new one that he could not understand and that seemed alien to him. He rose to his feet with amazing speed, startling himself. The colors he saw, the smells and sounds were all so clear and vivid. It was as if until that day he had lived with a dark shroud about his head, numbing every sense he possessed. He took a few steps toward the light and his anxiety grew. When he reached the border of the shadow he stood there, looking out into the wilderness. The brightness hurt to a degree he had never felt before, squinting was not enough, after only a few seconds he was forced to close his eyes and turn away from the light completely. “What is wrong with me?” He thought to himself. He turned back to the light, and slowly put his hand forward. As it crested the shadow and entered the light a smoke rose from his fingertips. His skin hissed and bubbled and a pain like no other slithered up his arm and stabbed fiercely at his mind. He yelled, reared backward and tripped on a loose stone.
    From the darkness came a sinister laugh. The sound of stone scratching against sharpened claws ensued as the beast once again climbed down from its hidden lair in the rock. It dropped gracefully from the ceiling of the cave, flipping over in mid air and landing silently on the floor beside him. Karim could see it much more clearly since the daylight crept ever so slightly into the cave. It was indeed tall, so much so that it seemed like it took forever for it to stand from the crouched position it had landed in. Its hands and feet were both talon like, three clawed fingers for each limb. Its cheek bones and jaw protruded and its skin was tightly bound against the bone as if pulled back toward its pointed ears. The hair it had was fine and purely white, it was pulled back and grew nearly to the waist. It wore no clothing, but had no sign of gender.
    “What are you?” Karim asked.
    “I am Amon. I was once like you, frail and damaged, my essence spilling out onto the world like a river into the sea, and like you, a beast came to me in my dying moment as I lay tormented by my failures at life. It gave me a choice, to live forever with the darkness that consumed me then, or to die alone where I lay. Like you, I chose to embrace the darkness. I have existed for over a thousand years preying on the life source of mortal beings, living with the curse passed on to me that night by the being who saved me from death. It brought me so far away from death that such a fate will never be able to reach me again. This form you see, is not my true form. It is the shambles of the body I once had, transformed by the power of the Blood. You see... my true self is within this shell. I speak not of a soul or spirit, but the essence of life. Every drop of blood that enters this body is transformed into much more than a crimson substance. It is transformed into me, the blood is where my consciousness lies. This head you see can be ripped from my shoulders and I would still walk, for the mind is in the Blood. You too are now like this. Your soul is no longer the holder of your existence for you have forsaken it for the Blood, for the Hunger. Do you feel it yet? Is it already pulling at your every thought? Instinct will guide you on your first hunt, I will not. Once you leave this place you and I will be rivals as it is in nature. You will be my competition, and although I shall not destroy you if we happen to encounter, I will challenge you for the prey. You will not be ready for this, and for the first few times I can assure you that only your wounds will be your teacher.”
    “But I thought you said you could not die, how could you destroy me if I am like you?” Karim asked, fear tugging at his mind once the words had left his lips.
    “Ah, I said we are immortal, not invincible. There is a difference. In time you become capable of doing great things with the existence I have bestowed upon you, one of which is to rest while being aware of ones surroundings. I have become a master at this and if I wished to, I could hide myself in the shadows and rest for a century or more if not disturbed. Time cannot kill us Karim, only a few things can deal our demise.”
    Karim’s eyes widened at the sound of his name in the unnatural low tone of Amon’s voice, and for a moment his mind raced with fear and confusion. He rustled backward, dragging himself on the cave floor until he reached the end where a puddle of his own blood lay drying on the stone.
    Amon looked at him puzzled for a moment and then began to step forward. “Do not fear. This is all a shock to you, but you will understand all of it soon. Now listen, these are important things to know. Your body is changing, you are very young in this new world I have entered you in. Your body has not yet undergone any of the changes. They may be painful, but later you may not notice them at all until one day you realize you are far different than you were in living. Karim, your body is dead, soon it will be pail and cold, warm only after feeding off the blood of the living.”
    “What?” Karim exclaimed. “What do you mean?”
    “Have you not listened to a word I have said? Perhaps I waste my time and should simply let you figure it out on your own as I did.”
    “No.” Karim said, fearing solitude. “Please, I will try to understand.”
    “You will soon feel a hunger stronger than any you have ever known. If you do not satisfy it, it will control you, and you will become a beast, purely existing to satiate the Hunger. You must keep it in check or your mind will be lost to it. Feeding itself is not something I need to teach you, once you are near a human and smell their blood, the Hunger will guide you. Now, the dangers you must be aware of.”
    Amon took a few steps toward Karim, crouched and put up one of his three clawlike fingers, indicating the first of the dangers.“Fire. If you look at this body, it is pale and dry. The only moisture within it is my essence, the Blood which is me. The eyes of this body are red because I must force blood into them to see. If a flame were to touch my body I would begin to burn. Not only from the outside but from the inside. The Blood feeds the flames, I am not sure why, although I believe it is part of the Curse. We are not to use fire, for it brings light and we are creatures of total darkness.”
    Amon put a second finger up. “As we are creatures of complete darkness, the sun is forbidden to us and will destroy us if we are to enter its deadly rays, as you have already learned. You are still very young. In time you will become more resistant to its power, although it will always do harm to you, you will be able to withstand it for at least a few more minutes.
    Amon put up his third and last finger. “The Blood is everything and must be protected at all costs. The muscles of this body do not work like the muscles of a living man, and soon you will learn this because your muscles will begin to seize. You will have to learn to manipulate your essence to force them to move. It is the Blood that causes all movement, forcing some into your limbs will make them extend, and sucking it back will make them retract. Because of this you are not limited by the size of your muscles and therefore you will always be much faster, and much stronger than any man. However, if you are dismembered you may lose great amounts of your essence and will risk losing your body. Without a vessel for your blood to be carried in, you will be scattered into the dirt and consumed by the earth to live eternally within it. A much worse fate however is to be consumed by another of our kin. You will learn that when you feed. you will have the opportunity to completely remove every drop of blood from your victims body, and so it is possible for another being of darkness to do such a thing to you. If this is to happen, your existence will be dominated by your attacker, your power will become his, your consciousness will be trapped within his being for eternity.”
    Karim sat motionless, there was a moment of silence, and then he spoke. “I have one question Amon.”
    “ If you created me, and someone created you, who is the first?”
    “I will tell the tale as the one before me told it. The one who changed me was changed by the first. Far from here in a place removed from our existence, there are beings that know the secrets of the universe. Through words, symbols, actions or mere thought, they can change the world around them using the power of light. The First is of their kind. She was banished to this place to live eternally in darkness, they had stripped her of her powers and thrown her down to our world as punishment for seeking to know forbidden arts of shadows. When she arrived she knew not how to survive. She watched as the animals hunted each other and ate of each other in the night and through them she was inspired. Although they had stripped her of her power, they could not strip her of it all. Within her Blood lay the essence of her kind, and although she no longer had the ability to shape light, she could still summon the power within herself. This power was forbidden by her people to use, and was the source of the shadows power. She had no reason to fear those laws now. With her wisdom she searched for the power locked in her Blood and after millenia, when she finally summoned it, she realized why it was forbidden. She unleashed the Hunger and for thousands of years it drove her mad. She consumed every manner of beast but none satiated her hunger until she consumed of man. Finally she was free of the Hunger for the moment, but she noticed that she had killed the creature who had freed her of madness, and so she spilt her blood into its wounds to heal it but it was not enough. She filled the empty body with her blood and finally the being came to life.”
    Karim nodded. “I see, and how long ago was this?”
    “The being who changed me had lived for three thousand years before me. He and I were what you call Eutak, but you can see now that my body in life is nothing more. He told me that she was ancient when she met him, I do not know when she first arrived in our world, but I do know that the first that she changed was bonded to her unlike you and I. I did not drain you of all your blood before giving you my own, and therefore we are not bound to each other such as they were. The more of my blood you take, the more we are bound together. If I had drained you and filled you with my own essence, our fates would be bound so tightly that if I were to die, you too would suffer a final death. This bond can also be made with mortals. If they are fed our blood they become dependent on it. The First was said to have dozens of slaves bound to her for lust of her blood. If they did not have it, they would die. But taking it prolonged their lives” Amon turned and looked outside to a dimming light. “Night is falling, and you and I must now part. I will surely see you again, but remember if it is during the hunt, I will not hesitate to strike you.”
    “Karim nodded, and stood up. It took him a long time, and he now remembered what Amon had said about his muscles seizing. His mortal muscles would no longer work soon, and he would have to learn how to move using only his Blood. He awkwardly made his way toward the entrance of the cave, and as the sun set and shadows filled the land, he took his first steps out into the world of darkness.

The End

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