Content Warnings for this page: Mention of people-eating. Emotional manipulation. Ennui.
100X-101X AD spring
Roll (0): Prompt 8(2)
gain advantage over an immortal; convert a memory to a skill, gain a resource
How alone I have truly been these past years. Since Thieda disappeared into the dawn.
Now there is Roxana. Perilous Roxana, sharp Roxana, clever Roxana.
I’m drawn into her utterly. Her large, dark eyes flash equal parts mirth and misery. I want to make her laugh, to comfort her. She is not soft as Thieda was, creeping into the room with a chicken for me to drink from, laying next to me and murmuring God’s plans while stroking my hair. No, Roxana is fire and wants me to catch with her. Mesmerizing as a flame in the night.
There is little for us to talk about in conversation. My life so far is a series of dull notes against the bursting melody of hers; she has woven the threads of her story into a vibrant and lengthy tapestry, whereas I have barely begun to tease a single fiber to the spindle of my own.
And so, I listen. She talks, voice dripping with the night sky on a hot summer day, as we wait for our nightly slumber to overtake us. My questions are eager, and numerous. There is an endlessness to that which I do not know, and that which I never thought to know.
For as much as I feast on her knowledge, she too is hungry, desperate to share with me. If someone keeps their story silent for too long, the need for telling it begins to fester and blacken the soul. I am her priest, the tiny home we occupy along the the south banks a confession booth. This, it seems to me, proves our souls are still intact, not forfeit to the Devil but simply shifted in purpose. Is it a sin for a wolf to eat a piglet?
And so I find I can be demanding in what I want to know. How quickly I took up the art of manipulating emotion in humans, but I want more. Always more. As Hrodulf gave me the gift of blood-hunger, she gives me the gift of power-hunger.
I ask, again and again, to learn how she was able to bewitch me. When she refuses, I leave her for days, weeks. Months, once. When I return she is equal parts furious and grateful, but unrelenting. Instead, little by little, I learn her host of powers.
I learn I can shift my teeth to fangs which make the piercing of taut, supple skin so much easier, that I can not only become silent, but also a shadow, slipping from place to place. This takes the better part of a year on its own. Control over humans is easy– control over myself requires practice, patience, focus. When I fail too often, I find myself flying into an easy rage. As an animal does. Roxana tells me I must master this, too, lest I become a mere beast. This only makes me angrier.
Too, she teaches me of her journeys. To the far East and it’s deep, silent winters that made feeding precious, of the lands South with wondrously large creatures and a sun so hot she had to burrow into the ground to escape it’s terrible rays. She tells me of wars and of music and of the smell of spices heavy in the air. Less and less I am Berhta, servant of…? Names from before the hunger have left me. Save Thieda’s.
Forgetting, Roxana tells me, is our blessing and our curse. Anything I wish to keep, I must record, somehow. She shows me the underside of her favorite necklace, each metal panel beaten with a name, a place, a date. Or so she says– it is all of a script I cannot read. Everything, she tells me, will fade in time, even this. But since she knows she had each piece made herself, she can trust it to be true.
I ask for my arm band back, and am denied. This, above all else, infuriates her, though she will not say why. I ask again, and again, and again. Finally, she too leaves me. At least I get to keep the house.
111X AD, summer
Roll (2): Prompt 10
A Century passes; strike out a memory and all mortal characters
What is the world when you are alone and forgetting? Every night the same. The people change around me. The world changes in increments, the city grows, changes hands, changes faces. They all taste the same. Roxana does not return. Will everyone eventually cease to return, spurned away?
I rarely rouse from the stupor of routine. I bewitch lawmen, tax collectors, magistrates, drive away or drink neighbors before they can notice how long the house, silent all day, has been occupied. I ask someone once, before sinking my fangs into them, what year it is. The answer, almost drowned by the piercing of their flesh, makes me realize Thieda– everyone, in fact, that I knew in life– must be long dead. Lifetimes have passed without notice. How old I thought I was at two and twenty, about to be wed. Here I am, forever two and twenty, but also over a hundred years.
I record her before she too flickers out. Embroidery, crude but effective, stitched on the underside of a long skirt. With each stitch, her face fades from me, but I know when I look at them: Thieda. My first friend. My final friend? How long will I endure such loneliness? Perhaps it is time to rejoin the world and let time move slowly once more.
Memory (1): Birth and Loss
Experience One: The origin
Burgundy Countryside, 98X AD
I Berhta, am daughter of no one, serving girl and nursemaid to the brother of a minor noble.
Memory (2): Friendship
Burgundy Countryside, 98X, High Summer
Thieda and I play in a river.
Burgundy Countryside, 99X AD, Midspring
Thieda finds me post mortem and ushers me home.
Burgundy Countryside, 99X AD, Summer
We flee our home to avoid the questions and condemnation of our village.
Memory (3): Service
Burgundy Countryside, 99X, Early Autumn
The house is quiet and mine the morning after a bad day with my mistress.
- I have much patience with the very young
- I can creep silently among the sleeping as I work [X]
- My ear for gossip is well honed
- When I hunger my appearance changes
- I can make humans feel the way I want them to
- I can become one with the shadows
- A collection of stones kept in my pocket and worn smooth
A bracelet made of leather strips braided into a pattern
- A nice enough set of clothing in which to work, without shaming the household when I’m set to market
A supply of chickens to feed on
- A small but comfortable abode
Thieda, my one truest friend, my deepest temptation, now lost
- Hrodulf, my betrothed and a delivish creature in disguise, long since gone
- Roxana, another creature of the night, with powers to effect the mood; my companion of sorts. She has become my mentor.
Charibert, whose home and children I tended to, brother to the viscount of a small village Mauriana, Charibert’s second wife, a vague memory of terror
- A ragged bite along the nape of my neck, easy enough to conceal, but the wound never closes
Memory (4): Knowledge
Paris, 100X, Spring
Roxana finds me and begins to teach me the power to change minds.
Paris, 101X, Spring
I spend a decade learning from Roxana, something she seems to need as much I do.
Paris, 111X, Summer
A vacant century, feeling little but disdain.
Memory (5): Love and Death
Burgundy Countryside, 99X AD, Midspring
Hrodulf and I prepare to marry, but he feeds from me and is driven from the village as I die.
Paris, 99X, Winter
I skirt the edge of control and discover it produces a change in me. Thieda leaves.
Memory: Secrets in the Parish (forgotten)
Memory: Life as a servant (converted to a skill)
Entry 1: Friendship
Burgundy Countryside, 98X-99X
Thieda and I play in a river; Thieda finds me post mortem and ushers me home; We flee our home to avoid the questions and condemnation of our village.