Contemplation fled into his mind, telling him things of suspect, yet curiosity and a stubborn nature let them lie beside a blood-stained road as mist the color of midnight smoke coursed its way up along the cold stones of the grand tower — once a bell steeple, befit with a great cross, though long ago torn away, ridding it of his god’s sigils and presence. He stood upon the slant of that great tower, taking in the beyond. The forest delved through slitted eyes. Every sense filled with the waking night’s world; sounds and scents rushing over him. The eyes of elves only a close second to this creature of cursed nightfall.
The flex of a jaw sent him leaping from that careening roof, and the twisting of black mist swirled about him, throwing him farther forward in a chaos of damnation, roaring his way through boughs that caused nightbirds to scream and caw in terror as they made themselves scarce on feathered wings. Something was amiss. He could feel something; someone unfelt before this evening, though its resonance was vague, misshapen and left away as quickly as it had come. But unmistakable was its feel. Putrid, dank and dark… not wholly unlike the seeker of it himself. As shod boot settle down, with grass and dirt and snow crunching underneath, lines of disturbed entropy told of a thing here… A battle, or perhaps something worse. Soon, a speckling of black droplets… Only to lead upon more and more, as he entered and left the mists that he was so easy to become.
And finally upon her form he emerged, the smoke leaving about his booted ankles and heels, fading into the nothingness of night. Sascha lain upon the snow, her skin near indiscernible from the snow itself, save for the black, thick and frozen streaks of blood that clung to her torn body, and that of the rich life that left her and outline that figure of hers. A curl of his lower lip, followed soon by the upper in a snarl. He was the hunter here. -He- was the predator in this forest. Someone had betrayed that — first, Sascha, some months ago, and now another had harmed her. In -his- very realm.
A faded swirl of limb into black miasma, and she was within it, with him. He fled back the way he’d come, and not long after, she was deposited on the soft touch of thick velvet of the carpet of his bedchamber’s floor. Erhardt settled beside her, looking her over both in vile curiosity, regret and fury. The bald head of his tipped to the side, and up a sleeve went. She was pulled over across his crossed legs and the bleeding wrist of his opposite arm set to her lips as his thigh cradled her snow-covered head, that hair of hers. His fingers worked, flexing and releasing, coaxing the black curse from that vein to thud heavily on her bottom lip several times, spilling over to crash against teeth, and as the flow increased, rivulets would run down her tongue into her throat and beyond.
The darkness holds her like a coveted lover. It whispers to her soothingly. Here, she felt weightless. No dreaming. No nightmares. No pain. The unconscious bliss embraces her. But in so doing, it does not allow her to heal her own body. So she laid there in the forest. Laid there for hours as the cold wind moved in, as the clouds blotted out the moonlight and snow began to slowly fall over her. Her pale skin became like alabaster with all the blood loss, the dark blood freezing in the cold air. So it is no surprise that as Erhardt finds her, scooping her up and shadowing her back to his stronghold, she is completely oblivious. Her body lays out over him, head falling back stiffly, tresses still crunchy with frost. Body rigid, he may start to believe she had truly passed out of her cursed, undead life.
But in the dark…she was safe. Away from HIM. It calls to her, that darkness. Keeps whispering, promising release from the torture and pain. So tempted…she truly is. She could feel herself drifting to that faceless, shapeless comfort. Her head is moving. As if to look in the direction of that emptiness. An arm is raising towards it, fingers lightly lifting to touch at it. Little did she know, her physical form is raising to the blood dropping to her lips, thick and rich in vitae. Her body was so hungry and weak. Her hand reaches to his arm, pressing it to her lips, canines sinking into his skin. Consciousness still eludes her, though her body, the beast, responds, striving to feed in order to awaken her. Long moments pass until his strong blood seeps through her veins, calling her to wake. Her mind is fighting against it. Fighting against the waking. There wasn’t a choice, though. Her eyes snap open, pupils dilated and she shutters suddenly in pain. Her lips move away from his arm and her head tilts back to scream against the pain in her back. Scars not yet healed and searing to life.
Erhardt’s face flinched at her scream, arm pulled away to his side. He settled his hand over her mouth even while his own worked quietly. Whispered words, stripped from the books of devils, and powered originally with the ring of Solomon, that great and ancient magician. The steel of his eyes became a smolder, igniting in rich blue flames, and still the words continued, unknown to her ears, and how she still screamed beneath his clasping hand, yanking at his arm… and yet, soon, the pain began to be forgotten. He was no healer, such as lovely Sascha. No, Erhardt had no means to close wounds the way this woman did, but he could affect her with the breath of the beyond, taught from hours and days, years and millennia of study, trial and error. The pain in her body was still very much there, and yet the memory of it was fading like the face of her mother, for so long ago it seemed.
“Shh,” he simply ushered.
Eyes squinting into illuminated slits, and gingerly his hand peeled away from her. She would feel discomfort, but like being drowned in alcohol, it was a fleeting sensation, back in the creeping recesses of her mind. Erhardt settled his hand on her chest, about her collarbone, watching her as the glow began to drift from his eyes.
After long moments, she finally stills, her pained screams dying away. It is ebbing, but she could still feel the flayed flesh on her back, awkwardly stretched and ripped. Her eyes open slowly, looking glazed and far, far away. But as he moves his hand away from her mouth, lips lightly open as a struggled sigh escapes. Before long, her eyes focus up at the ceiling. Swallowing hard, she slowly turns her head to him as he cradles her in his lap, his voice hushing her gently. Always one to show strength, Sascha did not like to show weakness. But as she sees him looking down at her, a sob breaks from her throat. Brows knit down together in a helpless expression, face contorting in fear, even if it was brief. For she buries her head into the crook of the arm that supports her head, her other hand clutching at his hand along her collarbone. Now that she is awake, her healing ability begins to kick in, pulling and knitting at the skin, sending the hot burning spikes of pain to slowly build. But she grits her teeth…bearing it now. Now that she knew she wasn’t in HIS presence anymore.
It was a strange moment for Erhardt. In fact, it was a strange many days recently, for Sascha had brought about something herein that hadn’t been about for a very long time. And now she was asking for more. The opening of his wrist had already closed, and she held at the hand that had earlier been near her mouth, blood feeding her near just moments ago. As she writhed from the pain, his fingers closed around her smaller, finer ones, and his other delved into that mass of off-white hair, scraping nails in an attempted soothing manner. He’d not recently thought of revenge for anyone but himself. He had enacted vicious vengeance upon those of his former faith, but now… Now this? The silence of them was drowned out by the crackling of fire of the hearth within his bedchamber, while poor Sascha’s feet dug and pushed into the carpet of the floor she lied upon, in this area she’d not yet been. Though the man cradling her in arm and legs held thoughts elsewhere. Was this the same work of the one who had done the same to her so very long ago?
That snarl had returned just then, and even as his fingers still worked against the skin of her skull, he knew something would be coming; a confrontation, despite every fiber of his ageless life telling him this was too much trouble. A glance down at the little thing in his arms just then, and perhaps that thought was pushed away. Perhaps.
Sascha regains her demeanor soon after feeling his hand rake through her hair. It would be a soothing motion for any being, always had been. Gritting her teeth hard, she turns her head back to Erhardt, that stable, clear headed look back upon her features. Frowning up at him she wets her lips, still tasting his blood there. A quick wince as another piece of flesh mended at her back.
“Erhardt….how did I get here?”
Her eyes look around her. She knew she was back in his stronghold, the smells told her so. But this was a new room. Watching the shadows of the fire dance along the walls, she turns back to him. The dull pain in her eyes was slowly easing with each wound mending itself. Taking in a heavy breath she gently shakes her head, having to turn her eyes away again. Her sire’s face was so fresh in her mind. Cruel smile, sadistic eyes boring into her. Her hand releases his, raising to her own forehead as though she could rid his face from her mind with such a simple action.
An altogether mostly sparse room, save for the large hearth, above which held a classic sword which he wielded in life, though its cross upon the pommel had been chiseled off eons ago, it seemed. Plate armor which light shone through in beams of orange and gold from the fire, the breastplate imperfect; that which had spelled his death as a mortal man.
“I sought you out, little Sascha,” he said quietly. ‘Tis this I had discovered,” meaning her now-healing figure still cradled against his crossed, leatherclad legs. “And, beg, whom should I pronounce has done this to you? Be a name pressed upon the wreckage of your body?”
She shifts her weight against him, to lay more upon her side, facing inwards to him, in order to allow her back to better heal. The motion makes her wince once more, and a small moan escapes her lips softly. She now sits mostly with her torso in his lap, hips and legs laying upon the floor at an angle. Slowly she becomes aware that her shirt is completely shredded, only held onto her body by the thin straps at each shoulder. Dipping her head as he explains how she was brought here, she then looks up to study his face as he asks ‘Who’ did this to her. Biting on her lower lip she blinks a few times. He had told her before, she could ask for his help if she so needed it. In her thoughts though, she felt she needed to protect the few friends she had, the few she cared about, from her sire’s contempt. But she wets her lips again and nods gently, like she were answering a question in her own head.