Roll (1): Prompt 8
discovered by Another of your kind, lose a resource and gain a skill
It is the deepest dark of the morning, with neither moon nor sun. I need neither now, to see, to stalk. I feel a heartbeat and movement a few streets away– it is irregular, fast. It must be an animal but the near-gold of my hair means this does not matter. Anything, now. As long as it is now.
The pulse quickens again as I approach. I falter, the barest of hesitations; it has been years since any creature heard my approach, even the keenest eared dog. Am I too hasty? I can almost smell the blood now– my falter trips into a near run even as I consider this, and I turn a corner, reaching with instinct rather than sight.
It’s not an animal, but a young man, mid-stride, who manages a yelp into the night air as I close a hand around his mouth, yanking his head sideways lighting-quick. I rip into his neck, and the yelp becomes a muted gurgle. Involuntary, I moan as the blood rushes from him and washes over me. Iron and savory and burning, boiling, blessedly hot. I drink, greedy, of him. I know I should stop but cannot. Already his gurgles soften to whimpers and then silence. I pull his body down to continue my greedy feast, animalistic, rending his flesh away for more, faster, deeper feeding.
A throat clears in the night and I almost do not stop even then. It clears again, and finally I freeze. A shape forms from the shadows around me, a tall, too thin figure with a dark face adorned in a cascade of red cloth. I am informed that I haven taken her dinner, and after she spent so long toying with it to get the adrenaline pumping. Her lips form a pout and I am struck the thought that I cannot look away.
I wrench myself from the corpse to stand and face this newcomer. She inclines her head, brows knitting as if curious, and introduces herself as Roxana. She smells like a deep summer night heavy with pollen, and her smile draws me closer and close. The night air, the stars, erupt with sudden color as the space between us disappears; I know dimly that I am entranced.
She reaches up, wipes blood from my face with a thumb, then tastes it, slow, her eyes never leaving mine. The after feeling of her touch lingers as if my flesh were skill alive and responsive to anything but the feast, and I feel her hand wrap around my arm. When she pulls away, my betrothal arm-band is in her hands. Suddenly furious, I grasp for it, as the sky bursts back into deep midnight and the stars their silence.
She steps back, laughs, tells me this is the price for stealing from her, but if it is so precious to me, she will gift me with a lesson. The air shimmers about us, cloying again, and I find my anger will not stay in my grasp no matter how I try. Fine, I say, then teach me to change a mind as she has done.
The next night, our instruction begins.