“Awful scrappy little lass you are. Yet, you aren’t much without that staff of yours, are you?”
Cornered. Beaten and tired. She could no longer resist his advances with any real strength of her own. She was alone, in the dark, secluded in the dense wood were no one could help her. She could not struggle any more. Her mind began to wander. Demitri, where was he? How could he leave her for so long, so unprotected? Perhaps he was attacked as well. Attacked by this beast? How morbid… she was losing herself.
“Well go on,” she whispered, defeated. “Do as you will with me. Just answer me this…”
A sudden force, and then she found herself immersed in the coolness of the ground. Sharp pain trickled over her spine, throughout her body. Her hands were drenched in her own blood; her tattered tunic grossly stuck to her skin, wet with sweat and blood.
“… did you kill him?”
“Kill who, lass. I found you all by your lonesome.” He laughed to himself, his face twisted in sick pleasure. “I thought you could use some company.”
Prepared for humiliation, she gave up. With eyes closed, she relaxed and gave her whole self over to fate. Fate gave her a savior. Darkness.
“Relax, my child. Soon you will feel no more pain… Ever…”
She awoke to find herself in a strange bed. The blood was gone. Her clothes were fresh, though worn. Indeed, she was in a great deal of pain, but for some reason, it felt good, even enjoyable.
She could sense some other presence. The voice echoed in her head. It was attached to the presence; she could feel it, though she could not bring herself to actually see that fact. A gentle being was with her, tending to her. She tried, slowly, to sit up and survey her surroundings: a shaggy, one-room cottage furnished with a table, two chairs, a lit fireplace, and her own bed. At her side, comfortably occupying one of the chairs, sat a robed man.
“I see you have recovered enough to inquiry.”
She looked him the eyes. They were deep, pupil-less, and strangely pleasant. He gently laid her down with a soft hand. She could sense great strength in his palm. A familiar strength, as if he had come to her rescue.
She opened her mouth, but nothing came from her lips.
“You shouldn’t try that again,” the stranger cautioned. “Not now. Unless you plan on killing me, you should communicate with your other assets.”
What is he talking about?
“Um, that’s it. I read eyes just as well as I read lips.”
I don’t understand… Who is this old man? Where am I?
“Am I really old? I like to think of myself as – how shall I say this – mature.”
He can read my thoughts…
The man stood and proceeded to the table behind him. He returned shortly with a small cup and placed it in her hand. “Of course I can. Now drink this. It will help soothe your throat.”
Soothe my… throat…?
She hadn’t noticed before, but her throat was very irritated. It was masked well by all the other sensations she was experiencing. It was there, intensifying – excruciating. It was there, underneath healing scrapes and bruises, deep cuts – no, bites. She was covered in fading marks, scars of scratches and cuts… and… bites?
“There is something you must know, child.” He patted her head gently, like a father would his daughter. “You are not human.”
“In fact, you never were. Quite a strange curse you inherited, from your real parents.”
My real parents…? What are you talking about? What’s in this cup?
“You, my child, are a banshee.”
She drank from the cup.