New Haven: Blood Feuds

Chapter 3 - The Trial

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Scene 1 – The Initiation of Acolytes

Ellenore was told to go to a very precise hut, next to a forest, not far away from New Haven. There, she would be met by Hadley, her sire, and introduced into the Covenant. Now that she’s finally a true member of their society this celebration is hers as any other believers. At the same time, this is her first real opportunity to meet others of the Circle of the Crone.

She was quite excited, despite still feeling strangely worn out from her earlier daytime adventure. She went to the hut slightly early, eager to get started. Would she finally catch a glimpse of the wonders beneath the everyday drudgery that had so far only been hinted at?

The hut seemed abandoned, the path to it rarely tread at all. But now, there were dimmed lights in the windows. Not enough to create any sort of actual illumination within the hut, but it’s bright enough so that anyone approaching would know – someone is inside.

She continued on up to the hut, unsure what to do for a moment before knocking on the door.
Not a single sound escaped the hut, so after another moment’s hesitation she pushed open the door and stepped inside.

She noticed a small candle burning, and a man standing in the corner. The rest of the hut was completely dark. For a mortal, he would have been completely indiscernible from the background. At least sometimes her new found capabilities gave her benefits.

She saw a vampire, with eyes black as coal, with black veins stretching around his face, in a cloak, standing there. Watching her.

She felt a bit uncomfortable. “Umm… hey. I was told to come here? By Hadley. She’s my sire?”

“Hello. Well, that makes two of us,” he answered, his voice was a lot more pleasant than Ellenore anticipated. It was normal, compared to the rest of his looks.

“Oh, umm… hey. I’m Ellenore. Pleased to meet you. What happened to-” She swallowed back the question. It was probably not very polite. “Eh, hello, yes.”

“You can call meShovock. To my what? My face?” he said taking a step forward, into the slightly lighter spot. Ellenore could see that those black veins are slowly twisting on his face.

“Oh, well, I didn’t mean to imply anything by it. It’s just a bit… unusual.” She smiled sheepishly.

He smiled as well, his smile looked a lot more honest than Ellenore’s. “You haven’t met a lot of us, have you? You should see my sire. Or the butcher. Those faces are pretty fucked up”

“Wait, you’re Nosferatu, aren’t you? I haven’t met much Kindred at all outside of my family.”

“Yeah, that’s what we’re called. Nosferatu… You start to wonder how did this name get into the name of the vampire movie in 30s, don’t you? Some elders had to go around busting heads for that one.”

Ellenore blinked for a moment, then laughed. There was something about the guy that made it easier to overcome the initial shock of his face. “Ooo, I can just imagine the scene now. Some people just watching a movie when in the back an Elder starts kicking his neonate’s ass, and nobody has any idea what the hell they’re doing… Hehe…”

“Yeah, the Invictus had to go crazy. And then, it all turns around, and no one bats an eye out of the movie… And then they realise that the so called Masquerade Breach was nothing more than some entertainment to our grandparents. Anyways, what about you?”

“Me? I’m Duchagne.” She felt a small stab of pride at the words. Despite her doubts about some of the family’s rougher sides, she rather liked being part of a lineage that could get anything, from anyone. She didn’t like liking it.

“Duchagne? And who’s that? Ventrue? Daeva?” he asked, before stepping a step back, the darkness hid some of the ugliness of his face.

“Daeva. I had assumed our parties would be legendary across the city.”

“Sorry, never heard the name. I didn’t get to talk with many other vampires myself, so you’ll have to excuse me for not knowing stuff.”

“Hehe, that’s good. We can both feel less unsure knowing the other is also mostly clueless.” She sits down upon a chair. “So, what did you do at your Grand Masque? Or are you still a protege?”

“A what?”

Ellenore frowned. “You know… the party you get to throw when they decide you are qualified to move from protege to neonate status. Grand Masque.”

“Ha… A party? How about getting your eyes burned out, being dropped into the deepest cavern under the city… and they go a long way down… much longer than the officials would dare to admit and then having to climb back out. I’ve been told that pretty much only one in ten get back up. Others get eaten by the things down there, go insane or worse. Anyways, let’s better talk about your pleasant party. So what did you do at your Grand Masque?”

“I uhh… did acrobatics with a burning hoop. It’s not quite as impressive as your ordeal I guess…”

“But I bet it was much more pleasant experience for everyone involved. You’ll have to show me some acrobatics one day. Mind if I join you by the table?” he motioned towards a chair on the other side of the table.

“Oh yes, for all the non-kine involved. And by all means.” She smiled at him.

He left the shadow and sat on the chair. This was the closest he got to Ellenore. She could see him in great detail now.

It didn’t bother her as much as it had at first glance. She started to tick her fingernails against the table blade. “They sure like making us wait.”

He checked his clock out. “Um, we still got 5 minutes until the time is up. We’re both early.”

“Now I remember why I’m normally fashionably late. I hate waiting.”

“Well, be glad that you’ve picked this side. Heard they really care about bureaucracy over there. So, anyways, why exactly this side of the party? After all, an Aaeva, and as you said, a party hostess, is such a natural fit in the Invictus, no? Heard there ain’t too many of Daeva’s in the Circle.”

“I tried Invictus once, got stabbed in the back for it.” She shrugged. “Besides, what more can the Invictus offer me? There’s only material delights there. One of our elders is Invictus, yet when she wants a bit of fine wine she calls the Circle. I want to see what else lies hidden in the depths.”

“You wanna see what lies hidden in the depths? I can show you some of that. Places where without Lygos guidance one should never go”

“Where the blood curdles and hairs go white?”

“That’s a poetic way to say it. But yeah, if you want to see some hidden stuff, there’s no better place then the underbelly of this city.”

Ellenore nodded. “I might take you up on that sometime… could be fun.” And if it wasn’t, that’d be fine, too. She deserved a little of that at times.

“Sure, we can arrange this sometime after tonight. Anyways, what do you think is waiting for us exactly?”

“Fire. Blood. Naked dancing in the moonlight.”

“Yeah, but it’s our initiation. It can’t be that simple, can it?”

Ellenore grinned. “Naked dancing outside always sounds simpler than it ends up being, trust me. I’ve tried.”

With those words they heard steps approaching the cabin.

“Seems that we’re done waiting.”

Ellenore nodded, getting up from her seat.

A few moments later someone knocked at the door. Ellenore stepped forward, opening it. “Hello?”

“Good evening,” said the man behind the door. “I’m Henry. And today, I’ll be showing you the path to the summit location.” He looked pretty average. A bit strange too, with hair falling over half of his face.

“Sounds great. My name’s Ellenore, pleased to meet you.” She stepped to the side a bit to allow for Shovock to make his introductions.

“And I’m Shovock. So what’s waiting for us?”

“So eager? Good. The gods will judge if you’re fit soon enough.”

Ellenore remained silent. There had been one ‘Goddess’ judging her at the Duchagne party. She was expecting more of the same.

Henry led them out of the cabin and they started walking deeper into the forest. It was silent, strangely so. You’d expect a vampire celebration to be at least somewhat audible. Only an owl’s screech disturbed the night..

Ellenore didn’t feel much inclined to talk either. She rubbed one of her arms. There were no goosebumps, of course, but there would have been. Her heart was still, rather than racing in her chest. She missed those little signs a little bit.

After a while they approached a huge stone. Going around it, they found a small entrance into a cave. Henry turned towards them.
“Looks like we’re here,” he said before climbing down the hole.

Shovock looked at Ellenore “Told you it won’t be that simple.“ He stepped towards the cave as well.

“Hey, we could still naked-dance inside the cave. Maybe…” She shrugged as she followed him in. “Prooobably not, though.”

“On the plus side,” she heard Shovock’s voice a few steps down, “seeing me naked is probably not the most pleasant of sights, so you save that for yourself.”

“Oh well, the Duchagne are master of the pleasant and disturbing both. Some more than others.”

After saying this she felt a cold wind pass her, it didn’t look like there should be any wind here.

She frowned for a moment, thinking someone was testing her. She didn’t remark upon it as they slipped down into the cave.

After a while there was only darkness. But in the end of a tunnel she could make out a door. It was a dirty, old door, with a chain and a lock, which looked over a century old. Upon coming to the door, Henry looked at them.

“Last chance to go home.”

Shovock was quick to answer. “Are you joking?”

“We’re already quite at home, aren’t we Shovock?”

“Yeah, what’s behind the door?”

“So eager. So be it. Perhaps we’ll meet. Perhaps we won’t.” He leaned towards the lock and whispered something, then pulled on the handle of the door, and it opened. The chain itself opened its links to allow passage. “Go ahead, and meet your destiny”. Shovock immediatly stepped inside, and was swallowed by the mist.

Ellenore followed right behind him, glancing at the mist curiously.

Just after she entered the mist she felt the door being closed behind her. Curiously, from this side, the door looked even older than before, and had some strange glyphs upon it.

Ellenore stopped to observe the glyphs for a moment, before turning back towards Shovock. “I feel like I’m in a movie.”

“And which movie is this? Or perhaps, what type? A comedy? A tragedy? Funny thing ‘bout those two, they’re usually identical… except in one you’re laughing from the events in another one you’re supposed to cry. Or so they say.”

“What about tragi-comedy?”

“So if we die, let’s die laughing? That will be a fitting sacrifice to the gods. What do you think about this mist?” he said waving his arms around a little bit “It doesn’t feel substantial. Like… yeah, It’s a mist, it’s supposed to be that… but I mean even less.”

“I hope it’s a hallucinogen. That’ll be fun.” She laughed softly. After which she noticed some footprints on the floor, and a passage deeper in the mist.

“Ha… He could have at least mention what we’re supposed to do down here.“

“I think I got it, follow me.” She began following the footprints down the passage.

They started going down the path. Ellenore felt her foot hit something small. When she picked it up she realised it was a wallet. She started leafing through its contents. “That’s strange, who would leave a wallet in here?”

The wallet belonged to someone called Timothy Sabo. Shovock was inspecting the wall. “Perhaps the last person to go through here?”

She passed the wallet onto him to have a look before they continued. “How sloppy of him to leave it here.”

“What the hell… It’s… Impossible… how…”

She raised an eyebrow as she looked at him over her shoulder.

“Uh… we should probably move on,” he said before starting to walk the path again, still looking at the wallet.

“Someone you know?”

“It’s my brother’s… “

“Maybe we are hallucinating after all.”

“Hope so… “

At which they reached what looked like a wall. Upon further examination they noticed there’s a hole in it, with what seems like a plate inside.

“Hmm, what do we have here?” Ellenore stooped to observe the plate. It looked like the plate itself is fixed in it’s placed. After checking it out a little bit more and carefully touching the plate Ellenore realised that it’s some sort of weighing plate. She pressed down upon it gently. However nothing happened, there was no click, nothing. She realized there was a pretty big layer of dust on the bowl. After carefully cleaning it off, she found words etched into it. Pain is my price.

“Ooo… pain is my price… how wonderfully melodramatic.”

“Tribulation and all that. Well, this one ain’t too hard then, is it?”

She smiled, putting a hand against his chest. “Hurt me.”

“I can take this one, don’t worry.”

She pouted. “You think I can’t take a little pain?”

“Aren’t you a party lady of the Duchagne? Besides that, how do you think we’re going to weigh your pain? Catch it in the air and place it on the plate?”

“We could take off a hand! Would have to gnaw through the wrist, I suppose! An eye would be easier, but it’d really suck if it was too light!” Normally, she might have felt slightly abashed at her excitement. She always thought herself deserving of pain, but she usually didn’t quite admit to herself that she wanted some of it. In the dark, misty depths of the cave, honesty came easier.

“Well, I guess we won’t come to an agreement, besides that, we should both sacrifice, shouldn’t we? Two hands cut at the wrist should please the gods. If not, there’s always more.”

“You take off mine, I’ll take off yours? Just keep the blood away. I have enough addictions as it is.”

“Afraid to fall in love with a freak? Ha… How do you suggest to take them off? Got any knife strapped under your cloths by any chance?”

Ellenore grinned at him, tapping a finger against one of her fangs.

“And how do you suggest to keep the blood away if we’re biting at each other?”

“Fair point! Guess we just bite ourselves then, for lack of a better plan.”

“Sounds, as good as anything. Care to do it one after another one?”

Ellenore shrugged. “I suppose I shouldn’t discourage chivalry. By all means.”

Shovock looked at her “Sometimes showing our ugly side is relieving, ain’t it?” before growling his fangs extending and eyes filling with anger. Ellenore realised that this is no longer Shovock, but his own beast, directed against his hand, he bit with great ferocity and within moments his hand fell to the floor, with him clenching his wound in the other one.

He was on his knees, his pain was obvious.

“You sure know how to commit.”

“The gods will accept no less.”

Ellenore nodded towards the weighing plate. “Let’s measure their acceptance then.”

Still on the ground, Shovock crawled towards the plate and placed his hand onto the plate. Nothing happened.

“Guess they know there’s two of us! Allow me.” She bared her fangs, before burrowing them into her wrist just under her hand. She gasped with shock for a moment, but then started to rip away, gnawing her way through, leaning against the cavern wall with her other hand, forgetting the rest for a moment, just sinking into the pain until she’s all the way through.

Her legs trembled by the time she put her severed hand on top of Shovock’s. “Aww, look, our hands are holding hands…” She licked her fangs. Who knew this would taste so damn good? That was the danger of it, though. She had to be careful.

The plate pushed itself down, and the whole wall started moving. It was rotating, after spinning for 90 degrees it stopped. Ellenore saw that the passage continues.

“Ladies first, right?”

“Now you’re calling for my chivalry? We can just go together. It’s not like they want us dead or something… Probably heavily mutilated will be sufficient. Or the gods might decide to eat us whole. We’ll see,” he said starting to move towards the darkness, still holding his arm.

“Sounds like bundles of fun,” she replied as she walked in with him.

They could see a wall, similar to the one they had before. However, this room was not empty. There were two creatures growling in the darkness. One to the left, one to the right. They looked humanoid, and within moments, the one to the left charged forward.

A chain rattled, there was a snap, the man, who had a collar around his neck fell to the ground. His feet were in the front. It didn’t seem that he even realized what stopped his charge. Ellenore could feel a weak beast within him. His eyes full of anger, he was growling and hissing at them.

“What’s… this? It’s not entirely Kindred, or if it is, it feels weak to me…” She took a step forward again after having recoiled backwards.

There was no answer. Ellenore glanced at Shovock. He seemed frozen and shocked. Ellenore heard a quiet growl from the right, where she could sense the second weakling.

Ellenore sighed deeply. “This one is your brother, and when I glance to the right I’m going to find one belonging to me, aren’t I?”

Shovock looked at her. “In for a penny, in for a pound. Are you?” his voice was trembling a bit.

She took a look at what she supposed was her own hostage before answering. She saw the eyes first. Those beautiful blue eyes. Long black hair. Torn dress. Ellenore never saw Sarah’s face so full of hatred. “How the fuck did they even get her, of all people! In the last months we spoke once at the phone, and had one meeting… but that was today, during the day!”

“Why are they here?” asked Shovock.

“I intend to find out,” she said as she crouched down, looking at Sarah’s face. “Sarah? Can you understand what I’m saying?”

Sarah lunged towards, trying to slash Ellenore, however similarly to Shovock’s brother she was stopped by the chain. It looked like she didn’t even realise what was holding her back.

“I guess you can’t…” she bit her lip. “This is fucked up. What do we do?”

“Maybe there’s something on the wall,” he said, before turning and going for the wall. It seemed that there was a small path unreachable by the chained ones.

Ellenore crossed her arms, waiting for him to determine if that was the case. She glanced at both of the captives with pity. Sarah was still growling at her, trying to get at Ellenore. If it wasn’t for the looks, she could swear that it’s just an animal chained to a wall.

Shivock inspected the wall. With the back of his arm he removed a ton of dust on the middle. Ellenore could see that something is written there, but it was too far away to make out.

“My price.. is your blackened soul,” said Shovock

Ellenore gritted her teeth for a moment, before throwing up her hands in frustration “What’s that even supposed to mean? Does nobody speak English in this place?”

Shovock turned around and started walking towards Ellenore. “Blackened soul. Well, from moral standpoint, one could call a murderers soul dirty, or blackened. Do they expect us to kill them? But no… that’s not the way the Gods would see all of this. Simple murder is not it…”

“I’m not murdering anyone, for any reason, in any case!”

Shovock looked at her and continued in his train of thought. “Blackened soul… I could swear I heard it before. I’ve heard it before… but where”

Ellenore crossed her arms. “Diablerie.”

“You’re right” He looked at her. “I’ve heard one Mekhet speak of it. As if he could see the darkened souls of others. That’s how he described it.” He looked completely phased, as not to comprehend what this entails “Some say, that when you do it, you’re actually merging their souls into yours. Heard that Ordo Dracul people are using it to preserve their knowledge,” his eyes were still glass-like.

She looked at the wall in disgust. “That better not be it. Murder is murder.”

“They’re already dead, one could say. They’re just animals now, another could. They might be better off within us, third one could say. But all I can see is my beloved brother. Already suffering for my fate."

Ellenore sank to her knees. “J-just… animals? What do you mean? What did they do?”

“Look at them. Do you see your friend behind those angry eyes? Someone embraced them. Well failed to embrace them properly that is. And now they’re beasts. There’s quite a few of those below this city. Some monstrous elders even use such creatures as dogs.” He looked at his brother. “I’ll find whoever has killed you. He might have done so for the Gods, but that will not save him of my anger.”

Ellenore stood up, grabbing Shovock by the shirt. “You’ve seen this before! Is there a cure? Surely there must be something!”

“Is there a cure for death? My brother is already dead… However,” he said after a small pause." I’ve heard rumors. No, legends, that these creatures can be made into proper vampires."

“How?” she asked, feeling slightly choked. “And do it without calling Sarah a creature.”

“Would I call it a legend if I knew? It’s easier to call them as such. "

“‘They’ would fucking do just as well, and it’s shorter to boot!” She turned away, pressing her one hand up against her face, pressing softly against her eyes. “The legends could have held more specific instructions. Like they do for vampires in the movies. I had to ask.”

“Yeah. You did," he said before taking a step to stand by her side.

“I need to take her with me,” Ellenore said in a small voice, barely a whisper.

“We need to open the door, if we are to proceed.”

Ellenore shook her head. “You go if you want, I can’t…” She covered her lips as she began to cry bloody tears, her voice muffled. “I was always a b-bad person. I… wanted to change. Sarah was… is… the best of us. I can’t… walk on over her corpse… I won’t…”

Shovock looked at her, then at her brother, not daring to look back, at his own. “You haven’t been listening to what Acolytes believe, have you? Besides that… the previous wall could perfectly measure when we made our sacrifice. This one doesn’t even have scales.“

“How the fuck was I supposed to know this was what they put behind all that vague Goddess bullshit!” she beat her fist against the floor. “If they’re really so great, they’ll… they’ll have measures in place in case only one candidate proves suitable.” She put her arms around herself, the stump sticking out awkwardly. “Maybe it’s already detected that I’ve lost the resolve… and is just waiting to see what you will do.”

“Maybe. Or maybe not,” he looked around. “I wish I could help you, somehow.”

She wiped away some blood from her face. “I don’t deserve help… Sarah does.”

“I can’t help her. Perhaps I can help you,” he sat down on the floor.

She took out her Colt M191, stroking the handgun against her cheek. “I should have helped myself with this… long ago. Before I…” She paused for a moment. “I tried once, after. It hurt, but it didn’t work… it doesn’t work anymore…”

“What the hell. What are you thinking? No, actually not. Do it. Shoot yourself. Make sure that Sarah’s death is as meaningless as possible by killing yourself. That will help. Making her death completely meaningless and killing yourself in the process.”

Ellenore laughed softly, desperately, pressing her hand against one eye and her stump against her stomach, as if she wasn’t feeling well. She tossed the gun aside. “You’re right. It won’t help. Not like that.” She glanced at Sarah again, her eye wide. The Beast was in her, but weak. “Too weak. She’s too weak.”

“They are here, to become our part. To strengthen us. With their strength, we could find out who dragged them here. And we could sacrifice them to the Gods they so love.”

“Yes… yes. Strengthen…” Ellenore stood up unsteadily, pulling at her collar with her one hand, ripping the fabric to expose more of her neck. “One plus a half is one and a half… but half plus one is, too. She’s too weak. But she can be strengthened…” She walks towards Sarah, smiling in relief. “Two souls must be paid. But I can choose which one…”

Shovock stood up. “Do you think Sarah is strong enough to take revenge against those who dragged her here? They are within the Circle, those who set up these trials. Do you think Sarah will get in there to do it?”

“It’s alright. Revenge is… empty. She will exist. That’s enough. She will exist.” She glanced over her shoulder. “If you can… take care of her… for me. She will be lonely…”

“Sarah has already passed. And you want to drag her back to this world. To our existence. To be dragged down to the depths of this city, where Lygos belong? I wouldn’t wish this life to the worst of your enemies if I were you. And you want to throw that to your beloved friend? or sister… Just because you are too weak to handle this? To make sure that her death is not in vain?”

Ellenore smiled at him. “Some say, that when you do it, you’re actually merging their souls into yours,” she repeated in his voice. “I’m dragging her into it either way… but she deserves the chance to be the one in control. She’ll do better than I ever could… than I ever did…” She took another step forward.

Sarah was growling at her, trying to reach Ellenore.

Ellenore stretched her hands out towards her, making soothing noises as she tried to entwine their fingers, advancing slowly. “Sshh… shh… it’s okay… I’m letting you…”

Sarah’s growl went a little bit more silent. However, her eyes still betrayed ferocity.

Ellenore stepped within her reach, stroking the girl’s hair. “I’m so sorry…”

As soon as she was completely within reach Sarah pounced upon Ellenore. Biting down her neck. The other girl cringed, groaning and panting as the fangs rip into her; if only this could come with the pleasure allowed to mortals… she kept stroking the other girl’s hair as she felt herself being bitten over and over. She probably wasn’t going to make a very pretty corpse by the end…

She felt her blood being drained bit by bit, bite by bite. Soon enough, she also felt an animal inside of her. One which didn’t want to give away her blood. One which wanted to fight back, but she resisted. She fought back against it, digging her heels into the soil. If there had ever been anything she had been sure about, it was this moment, now. She’d wanted to do some good, but all she’d managed to do was keep from being the biggest bad. She’d let people die in front of her because she was scared to talk back. She’d gotten people addicted because she didn’t want to offend. She got Sarah killed, because she hadn’t got the guts to end it all herself.

This was the least she could do. The last she would. The pain and the struggle flowed together. It became a blur. There was nothing else.

Suddenly she felt somebody’s hands, dragging her back.

She clung to Sarah. “Let go… no… I’ve got to do this… I will… I’ve made… my choice…”

“For fucks sake, Ellenore! Snap out of it! She wouldn’t do it. She let you go and started pummeling your face. All your little act would have achieved is your own death,” she heard Shovock’s raised voice.

“You need to be torpid for diablerie… idiot…”

“What? Have you been smoking? You need to drink after you’re done drinking the blood. What she was doing was murdering you. You would have simply died, if I hadn’t dragged you out.”

“Had to get me there first… somehow.”

“Have you ever seen how it’s done?”

“No… and I don’ wanna…”

“As I said. You drink, and then you drink the soul out. You don’t stop to smash his head first.”

Ellenore panted while resting against him. “Just like… my brother… always so much smarter than me…”

“Uh… Sorry… I don’t wanna lecture you. I just don’t want you to die pointlessly.”

She laughed hoarsely, her throat partially torn out. “No… I meant you are smarter… not that you try to be… I’m a freaking dumbass… I knew it wasn’t working…” She coughs, trying to clear her throat from blockages that aren’t there. “I just… didn’t care anymore. I just…” She grabbed onto him with her hand, her words choked off as she started to cry.

Shovock took Ellenore in his arms. “Yeah, we’ve all been there. And now you’ve got to be stronger. If not for yourself, then for her. To make sure that those who did this to her – get your thanks. If that doesn’t interest you, to make sure, that Sarah doesn’t – didn’t – die pointlessly.”

“But I still… won’t do it… I won’t lessen myself… as they want me to…”

“So you’ll let her death be in vain? Or will you let her stay in this miserable form?”

“If there is one cure, there might be… others.” The pain speaking caused was immense, causing her to wheeze slightly. “I can’t… give up on it.”

“Like a cure to vampirism? She’s even in a worse condition then we are. Haven’t heard ways to cure us. Ellenore, you weakened yourself. If you don’t pull your shit together you will die. So will Sarah. You can always do what I did with my arm. Tell your beast to do it. Some things are easier to do when they’re left to the beast in our hearts.”

“More like a cure TO vampirism…” She coughed. “Some things… shouldn’t be easy… we shouldn’t let them be easy…”

“You’re right. It’s ironic, how you’re saying one of the main principles of the Circle now. Looks like you’re in the right place, after all.”

She growled, or at least tried to. The sound that actually came out was like the grave. “Don’t… fuck with me… I’m not like… whoever did this.”

“Or you are. Look at yourself now, beaten, hungry, by the looks of it. What’s next?”

Ellenore shrugged. “Tell me.”

“You’ll either get stronger and do what you have to do, or you’ll die.”

“Yeah? And who… says… this is what I’ve got to do?”

“I do. I won’t drag you out of here, so you only got two choices here. Turn over and die, or stand up and start doing something about this.”

She sat down onto the ground. “Just… kill us right now then. If this is the kind of world it is…” She coughed. “Then Sarah and I may as well leave right now…”

“No, I won’t. You can sit here and cry like a baby. And then your Beast will make the choice for you.”

She sighed, before croaking: “Then leave… me be. I put… everything I had… in that. I’m not… gonna do… the opposite now…”

“If you won’t – I will,” he only muttered. Traces of desperation could be heard in his voice.

“Shovock,” she said with that croaking voice of hers, hoarse like a sixty year old chain smoker, “I thought… you liked me? Don’t… you?” She put an alluring emphasise into the words. As she knelt against the wall. It was hard to concentrate, but she could try that much.

“Yeah, Ellenore. I like you a lot. But we can’t stop here. And I don’t want you to die.”

She coughed. “Help me… make Sarah live… please… anything else, I don’t care…”

Shovock looked at Ellenore. “It’s sad to see someone like you surrendering so easily. Let’s see if the Gods will hold you a sufficient sacrifice.” Ellenore felt Shovocks arms holding her in place. She couldn’t move. She saw how his fangs extended, moments before she felt them in her neck. At first, it wasn’t so bad. Then, she felt pain. It was almost worse than the thought of leaving Sarah there. She felt her soul itself leaving her body, sucked into Shovock’s hungry mouth.

She glanced at Sarah one last time as she felt her body go numb, resistance fading. “Thank you…” she whispered, “save…” And then, she was gone.

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Griautis Griautis

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