She reached down to him, to where he sat, frozen against the oak, and tilted his chin upwards to force eye-contact. Her fingers, lightly brushing his throat, were as cold as ice.

     "What do you want?" he rasped, his mouth suddenly as dry as sandpaper.

      Moriba, second of the Three Queens of Time, laughed, but it was a glacial, mirthless sound which did nothing to gladden Seymour's heart. The rags that she wore seemed to float about her, but the air was still and windless. Her hair likewise drifted, as if ever so slightly lighter than air. Her fingers ran gently across his neck again, feeling--no, caressing--his jugular vein. "That depends upon what you want, young one. It's all the same to me."

      "Why? Why is it all the same to you?"

      "Either way, I feed. Either way, you shall not enjoy it." She smiled then, baring her vampiric fangs. "Either way, you pay."

       He was beginning to recall their previous exchange. "But...but I thought you said it was the land that needed payment, not...!"

        She tutted at him, shaking her head in mock pity. "My dear boy, I am the land. We are one and the same. I am, in fact, everything that is neither truly alive nor truly dead."

       "Will you please just explain what you're after?"

      She smiled again, hair-raisingly. "You only escaped with them because I let you. Now I desire compensation for my services. In blood, of course."

       He flinched.

"Oh, no, not yours. I thirst for pain as much as I do for blood, you see, and I see greater potential in feeding off of another, so that I can relish the agony of your guilt as a sweet dessert." She paused a moment, considering. "I think the smallish one would do nicely. The one you fancy. I wouldn't kill him, just hurt him enough to drive you mad."

He tried his best to disguise his horror. "What's the other option? You implied, just a moment ago, that there was another choice."

"Yessss," she hissed, smirking. "There is. I go back to Waelyngar and drink the blood of the Aechyed girl, the one whose name you used. Marka. Oh, yesss, I would drain away her life, and let the rats gnaw at her bones."

"Why should I care about her?" Seymour asked, trying to sound nonchalant, but he had a horrible suspicion that he was not going to like the answer.

He was, unfortunately, not disappointed. Her reply was worse than he ever could have imagined.

"Because," Moriba smirked, "She is your sister."

The End

19 comments about this story Feed