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All night Eros had sat at his desk staring over the top of his steepled fingers at the wall, shame wrapped snugly around his ankles as it slept at his feet.
Like most other nights sleep had refused to come to him, leaving the bed once more untouched. The exhaustion sinking deep into his ancient bones unresolved.
Regret had chewed on him like a hunter’s hound on a stripped soup bone for so long that the sensation of its pointed teeth gouging at his flesh had faded away to little more than a constant throbbing ache, but remorse over this latest action was white hot agony. Having fallen out of use to company was no excuse; Eros had thought that at the very least he’d still be possessed of some tact but, of course, he’d been wrong.
What am I doing? What am I expecting to happen? If she hasn’t already, she’ll notice soon. Unhooking his interlaced fingers, he slowly lowered his hands to lay flat against the top of the desk. “I’m sick of it. Of them. Of this. But what the hell will keeping her here achieve? It’s better that she be allowed to leave if she so pleases. And that she be forced to if she doesn’t. Even if stepping out beyond this valley’s safety likely means nothing but death, it must be done; there will come a time where she notices that the years age but I do not. Sighing heavily, he raised his eyes to watch the play of shadows across the wall. Though I don’t want to leave a bad impression as the last thing between us, even if what happened last night only goes to show that I’m still nothing but a danger to the entirety of humankind. How quickly he’d lost all semblance of a grip on his temper even after all of the years spent fighting for control of the violent tendencies made manifest by what he’d been made into and the deal that he had struck; Eros could only be thankful that bruises and a bad scare were all that his nosey little guest had walked away with. I’ll give it another few weeks, until I can be sure that she’s healed. Until she’s made her decision. If she doesn’t leave on her own then I’ll show myself as what I really am and chase her from this place. For now...I suppose that I should apologize for my behavior.
The first thing that struck him was how quiet the cabin was, as if he were once again living alone with only the snow and the wind for company, his footsteps creaking on the age-worn floor as he moved down the hallway to stop outside her door.
“Leoaicӑ?” the door was pushed back against him as he tried to open it; his eyes widened slightly when he realized why. Don’t tell me that she’s been sitting in front of her door all night. “I’d like to apologize but that’s hardly possible with your door in the way. Please, may I come in?” A slight shift in the floorboards as she pressed more of her weight against the door to keep it closed. “This is quite adult of you,” it came out as a nasal-sounding drawl, the hinges rattling as he tried for a second time to push it open.
If he so wished to Eros could have simply ripped the thing off of its hinges, but as he still wouldn’t have been able to pass the threshold without permission all such action would amount to would be the meaningless destruction of his own property.
Growling a swear under his breath in his native tongue, he released the handle and stepped back. “Very well, if you wish to play the games of a petulant brat so be is. Should you decide to come out there will be food on the table for you; I’ll be gone for the day and the night as well. I hope you’ll be more willing to speak with me tomorrow.”
The clouds were gathering thick and grey in the sky as the cabin door swung shut behind him with a bang, the hunting cloak left behind on its peg with his weapons. The cold wind lashed at him as he ran, furious as it failed to raise gooseflesh over the exposed skin that hadn’t truly known the extremes of hot or cold in many years; vision sharpening as the weak daylight gouged at his eyes through the cover of clouds and trees. Nails sharpening to talons and fangs snapping forward into place from where they’d lain flat against the roof of his mouth.
It had been a long time since he’d done this; a decade at least since he’d let the monster that he knew he really was loose to do as it pleased but he couldn’t take it any more. The hatred-of them and of himself; of what they’d turned him into-the pain of being condemned to an endless eternity by the curse of invulnerability placed upon him by the Dark Mother herself, the guilt of all his many sins and failures and the latest frustrations over her, his guest, all released themselves at once as he effortlessly scaled the sheer vertical face of the trunk of a massive tree and flung himself as far above the canopy as he could. His wings-massive and leathery, the weak light filtering through them like black stained glass-snapped open and caught the updraft whirling up along the slopes of the nearby mountains, forcing him further towards the snow-laden heavens, seat of the power which had abandoned him in what had been his time of greatest need.
Banking to the left and soaring back out over the valley Eros skated along the edges of the wards he’d placed hundreds of years before when he’d first come to the forgotten valley high in the mountains, shielding it and himself from the searching eye of the other Dhampir Lords and the demon Naberius, and as it later turned out from human expansion.
Humanity. What had once been his people. Those to whom he had once been a leader and a hero. Those that he had fought for. Those that he had failed. He’d loved them, once, enough to gladly give his life and die in battle against the monsters which sought to enslave them. But now there was no hope left.
And nothing left for him but an endless bitter winter.
Drifting down from the sky as small flurries began whirling from the clouds, Eros alighted on a rocky outcropping and folded his wings tight around himself so that the clawed thumbs hooked together and blocked out the light and wind. He sat like that, still as a statue with the shield of his wings blending in with the rock, for a long time; the snow had piled up around him almost 6 inches deep by the time the sound of approaching footsteps reached his ears.
Parting his wings enough to peer between them, he examined the scene with one eye; off a ways at the edge of the trees a hunched and wobbling form was stumbling through the snow, its image made too hazy and distorted by the over bright sunlight and falling snow for him to distinguish any detail beyond its shock of orange hair. Eros narrowed his eyes and craned his neck, carefully lifting his position without giving himself away, but before he could bring the image before him into focus the figure had disappeared from view.
From the way that it had moved he knew that the creature had been an Apelat; even if the sun wasn’t quite harsh enough to destroy them on so cloud-choked a day, seeing one out before nightfall was extremely rare and the only reason he could think of for such behavior would be that it was under the command of a Dhampir.
I thought for sure that that bastard Erebus would have left by now, but if his wretched minions are still sniffing around I guess I was wrong. Taking to the safety of the air again, he veered off in the direction of the cabin. Looks like I’ll have to cut my absence short.ns188.8.131.52da2