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.