Despite him offering to make it possible for her to walk in the sunlight, she refused. Her quick adamant response stemmed from anxiety more than anything else. It had been centuries since she had walked in the sunlight and the thought of it seemed foreign to her. She was just beginning to get used to the shadows and did not want to entertain the thought of walking in the sun again. Nerina was working on accepting her life being a vampire. It was hard enough without an escape hatch. A partial escape hatch as she would never be human again.
Through the nights she spent with him, she realized the extent of his powers. He was powerful. Magic seeped through his pores. His mind was lethal, quick. His blood was the strongest she had ever tasted but then she had never fed from a witch. Nerina kept her animal diet, never fully depending on him for sustenance despite his offering. She got used to the frown he gave her whenever she said she was going hunting.
Having a companion was something different after the fact that Eve was dead. She did not have to worry or look over her shoulder. And he could take care of himself. Nerina was more likely to need his help than he was to need hers. It was comforting. She had never been with someone she did not have to fret for constantly. Despite everything going the way she wanted them to go, she could not shake her bad habit of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
As if on cue it did.
Sitting around the fire one night, they had company. Company of the weirdest kind as they appeared in the fire. Faces—talking heads. She was sitting with her back resting against Fionn's chest and she felt him tense. The tingle against her skin was warm as energy pulsed not only from him but also from the fire.
"Fionn," they said in unison.
"Remain still," he whispered in her ear.
She could not have done anything else staring dumbly at the gathering in the fire.
"To what do I owe this... pleasure?" Sarcasm was thick on his tongue along with an edge she had never heard in his voice before.
"You have been hiding," one head said.
"Surely you did not think we would not find you," another chimed in.
In all, there were about eleven heads that Nerina could make out and count. Over her head, Fionn sighed exasperated. She remained as he had instructed.
"Certainly an accomplishment on your parts. Now," he said, "to what do I owe this displeasure?"
"Come back," another in the mass of talking heads, said. Her voice was a song. A melody came with the two words that had Nerina's head swimming.
"Latvia, your call does not work on me." But he knew it had affected Nerina.
"You belong with us," she continued.
"I belong where I choose. And I choose here." I choose Nerina. He knew better than to voice that. He knew better than to have them know about her. For that reason, he had cloaked her from their sight.
During the exchange, Nerina thought the heads rude. They spoke to Fionn as if she was not there. As if they could not see her, yet she could see them. He had told her to be still. Nerina fought to remember that as the exchange grew longer and more cryptic. She had questions. Listening in it brought back into sharp focus the fact that she did not really know who she was sleeping with. In all honesty, he did not know who she was either. She had forgotten that, as she had grown comfortable with his company. Her feelings had grown for this man who held her while he spoke to talking heads on fire. She had kept so much of herself from him and from the looks of it, he had done the same.
For some time after the heads had disappeared, they sat saying nothing. The fire was extinguished.
"Who are you?" the words came out barely more than a whisper. Fionn did not stop her when she moved away from him. He had expected it. There were so many things they both did not know about each other. He had not bothered to ask her as she would have asked him the same. He could not openly lie to her. Omission, avoidance but not an open lie.
"My name is Fionn, Marjorie. You know this."
As he said her name—one of her many names—she inwardly cringed with guilt. She was pouncing on him for the truth when he had so little truth about her. Nerina got to her feet walking a short distance from him. Internally there was a war raging. Did she have the right to question him? Obviously, he was running. Did she not understand what that felt like? Eve was dead and still she had to remind herself that she did not have to run. The habit was so strong in her she did not know if she would ever stop. What right did she have to the truth when she herself could not give it?
She felt him behind her.
"I am a witch—a wizard of the Highlands."
Nerina turned around. "Don't—I don't need to know."
"But you do."
Nerina bit her lip.
"I am not an ordinary witch."
That had her brow creasing in question.
"I am an immortal."
An immortal witch. That did not seem farfetched. Why would one choose to be anything else when they had magic to keep them young forever, to keep them alive forever? Underneath the logic, she could sense there was more.
"And that is not normal."
"No, it is not."
Fionn sighed running his hand through his hair has he walked away from her. His back to her, he told her everything. Or as much as he could. He was an immortal from the original line of magic. Pure magic. Not differentiated as witch or wizard simply a magic of the purest kind. They had no names, no real faces after they ascended. Fionn had long reached the stage of ascension but he had refused, choosing to walk on earth among men, keeping his corporal body. To spend his eternity as insubstantial energy was not what he wanted. To exist was not what he wanted. He wanted to live and for centuries, the others like him had chased him. Centuries tracing back to before she had even been a thought in her parents mind.
Usually, one who refused to ascend would be stripped of his magic and made mortal, but his line was the purest of the pure. His magic could not be stripped. He essentially was—
Fionn laughed at the dubious tone of her voice. "How does it feel to have been bedded by true royalty m'lady," he jested, bowing to her.
"Like you made the entire thing up out of thin air. But the part about them killing me though was very riveting." She was not sure how she felt to have the tables turned. To not being the one chased, but being the one who could ultimately become collateral damage.
Fionn framed her face in his hand. "A fate that will never come to you, Marjorie."
"My name it's Nerina. You're not the only one with secrets."
She had expected him to react how she had initially, instead he smiled. "I look forward to learning yours."
"For now, witch, all you get is my name."
It couldn't be all bad all the time. Right? Right? Hmm... May need to rethink that.
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Nerina [eShort Series]Fantasy
Being stuck forever in the body of a teenager was only one of Nerina's problems. Having a psychopath as her sire was a much bigger issue. She thought she had escaped only to be drawn back into their twisted relationship marked by death. Running away...