Shadow and the Dweller-kin
Daniel carried the boy to his sister. Celeste stopped what she was doing and looked up, sensing him.
“Set him in the empty bed.” She supplied.
As he obeyed her orders, he announced. “He was hit by a poisoned arrow.”
Celeste looked the boy over. “What do they call him? How old is he?”
“They call him Shane, but he refers to himself as Shadow.” Daniel replied. His voice lowered. “He is but a boy, not even a decade old! He is not strong enough for battle at this age.”
“He is one of Dixilynne’s Crusaders.” Celeste told him. “Is that not enough to say he is strong and fit for battle?” When her brother didn’t object, she sent him away. “Go, Daniel. Ramon needs you by his side. I will take care of the boy.”
Once he was gone, Celeste finally got a good look at him. He was breathing heavily, more from the poison than from his outer wounds. His body was caked in mud, bloody in patches. His brown hair was disheveled in muddy knots. There were scrapes and scratches covering what limbs showed through torn clothing.
She began by washing him up. As she washed him with a soft, soap-filled cloth, she sang in her native language of Romanian. She sang a sweet song to heal and lull him to sleep. When he was asleep, she cut the torn clothes off of him, fashioning new ones with her own brand of magic. Once all his outer-wounds were gone and scratches and scrapes had disappeared, she began the most difficult of her healing task. Getting rid of the poison.
Being an Apprentice-Dweller, Celeste usually would take the blood of her charges using her teeth. This was no ordinary charge. He was a human, and she was reminded of the pact she made to Lord Guardian and his daughter Dixilynne. Do whatever was needed to heal, just do not Feed. Because of this, Celeste thought of no alternative.
From around her neck, she pulled a shark’s tooth that hung on a chain. She unclasped the chain and grasped the tooth in her hand. Making sure he was fast asleep, she took his hand and poked a tiny hole into his finger. She replaced the shark’s tooth around her neck.
The smell of his life-fluid made her incisors lengthen. She lowered her head to his finger and drank. With eyes closed, she savored the rich, musky taste of his blood. She took only enough to analyze the poison that flowed in his system before opening her eyes. With a kiss to the finger, the pinprick was sealed.
Now the poison coursed through her own body. She stepped away, feeling the rushes of heat the poison was trailing through her bloodstream. It felt hot, and quite painful. So painful, she screamed as she doubled, falling to the floor.
“Celeste!” Came the distressed cry of her brothers, Daniel and blood-brother leader Ramon.
Daniel rushed to her side. “Sister, what is it?”
Poison, she relayed in her mind.
“Did you take it all from the boy?” Daniel asked aloud.
Her entire body shook, another cry escaped her mouth.
“Push it through your system.” Ramon announced, taking charge. “We will help you focus, little sister.”
“I am older than you, Ramon.” Celeste croaked between gasps.
“Please, do what he says.” Daniel shared a look with his Blood-brother. “He is our leader now.”
Celeste nodded her head, cuddling close in her brother’s embrace.
“When the next wave of pain hits, push it away from you.” Daniel whispered in her ear.
It felt like eternity, but she somehow rid her system of the terrible poison. When next she opened her eyes, she saw blood pooled on the floor around her. She looked up into her brother’s gentle, caring eyes. He smiled back.
“You lost much blood.” Daniel supplied.
“Sure, state the obvious.”
“You must Feed.”
“You are weak, brother. I could not from you.”
“I have not lost much, and you need it more now.” Daniel said. He scraped a fingernail across his wrist and put it to her mouth. Immediately, her incisors exploded and she allowed herself to Feed from her brother. She felt her brother falter, looking up. Ramon was already at his side, offering his own arm to Daniel.
“Drink, sister.” Ramon said softly, his voice like velvet.
She Fed until she felt something stirring in her mind. Closing the pinpricks on her brother’s wrist and pulling away, she turned back to her charge.
Shane “Shadow” was screaming in his mind, unable to speak.
Celeste took charge and sent her brothers away. She stood above the boy, who stared at her in disbelief.
“How are you feeling now?”
He only nodded, eyes widened.
Celeste smiled, reaching to touch his hand. He snatched it away, continuing to stare.
“I will not deny what you saw.” Celeste kept her voice calm. She didn’t want to scare him further. “Would you like an explanation?”
The boy nodded, backing away from her.
“I am called Celeste.” She began. “I am from your world, in Romania. My kin are called Dwellers.”
“Vampire.” Was the only word whispered in response.
“We are like vampires, yes.” Celeste supplied. “My kin-clan was called the Apprentices. The man you saw over me was my brother, Daniel. He and I are the last of our kin-clan. The Apprentices were great healers. When a member of another clan would be wounded, we were instantly there to heal.”
“What are you doing here in the Dream Realm?”
“So you do have a vocabulary.” Celeste smiled. “I am here on the orders of the other man you saw, Ramon. He is the leader of all Dweller-clans, and my Blood-brother. Not long ago in this world, a Wolf Companion by the name of Chase Moondancer was sent by Lord Guardian to our world to raise Ramon.”
Shane stared, confused, so she continued.
“I might as well start where it all began. Centuries ago, a powerful Watcher named Diana placed a love spell on a Dweller named Crucis. Diana’s sister Margaretta was already Bonded, married, to Crucis at the time. Crucis at first did not know of the spell Diana placed on him, but Margaretta did. Knowing her sister was more adept and almost unstoppable when it came to love spells, Margaretta could do nothing to veer him away from Diana. Soon, Diana was pregnant with Crucis’ child. Being Dwellers, all kin-clans must rest in the day and live in the night. When it came time for Diana to give birth, Crucis had risen before the sun went down. He snuck to her side and attacked her, killing her instantly. Their son was born only moments before, his birth a hard one. Only Emerald and Diamond were powerful enough at that time of day to take the child to safety. Emerald took him back to her siblings in hiding. Diamond went after Crucis. Once the two were face to face, Diamond gave him an ultimatum. Either he be Exiled to become Stalker, the vampire of legend or die by meeting the dawn.”
“What happened to him?” Shane squeaked.
“He chose Exile, and to this day stays far away from mortals or Dwellers.”
“What about the son?”
“He was both Watcher and Dweller-kin blood, enabling him to live during daylight hours. In the meantime, while the Dweller-kin-clans were resting, someone had to care for him. This was a hard task, since neither of us were strong enough to do the job.” Celeste supplied, stepping closer to the boy. She sensed his amazement and new respect toward her as she continued her story. “While Diamond watched over the boy, Emerald and another brother of hers, Calcite, left for this world. For eons, the Mystics and Dwellers have been wary of each other. Knowing how they would help those in need, the two Jewel Siblings faced Lord Guardian and his mate, Mistress Enchantra. They told them their story, and asked for advice. Lord Guardian’s brother announced he had a follower that made a hobby of learning about what they called the Outer Realm. Our world. It was not long before Chase Moondancer was sent to raise our leader, Ramon. Of course, with any amount of help given by Mystics came a hefty price. The War for Province was still being fought, brother against brother. Chase was a general at the time, a fighter in the Mystic Army. With the dawn, he would raise Ramon in this world. With the night, he would return to his Lord Guardian and fight against the Warriors.”
“How long did the War for Province last?”
“Not long in this world,” Celeste began. “In our world, it lasted seventeen years. Ramon is old enough now to lead us, so we do not need Chase anymore.”
Shane placed a hand on her arm this time. She looked up at him.
“You love him, don’t you Celeste?”
Celeste smiled. “Yes, Shane. I do.”
“Does he know it?”
“I am afraid not.”
“Don’t worry. He will soon.” Shane smiled. “Thank you for healing me.”
“That is what I do.” Celeste grinned.
To her surprise, he hugged her. She felt guilty. He was an innocent boy with strength in his heart. She couldn’t lie to him when he asked her how she healed him.
“Will you not judge me, young one?”
Shane shook his head.
“I took it from your system the same way I fed from my brother.”
His hand went to his neck.
“No, not that way.” Celeste remarked. “I made a pact with your leader and Lord Guardian I would not feed to heal.” She felt him relax and she continued. “I used a shark’s tooth to prick your finger. Once a bead of blood was on your finger, I drank it out of you.”
“You poisoned yourself for me?” Shane was in awe.
“Yes, young one, only it did no harm to me.”
“Why did you have to feed from your brother if it didn’t hurt you?”
Celeste sighed. It was so complicated to explain, but she owed him the truth. “Ramon and Daniel helped me focus not on the pain shooting through my body, but the task of pushing the poison out of my system. Once it was done, we found I had lost much blood in the process. Daniel was weak as well from battle. Ramon fed him while he fed me. When I felt you arise, I closed the pinpricks and tended to you. They disappeared, leaving us alone, and you know the rest.”
“You are still exhausted from battle. Rest here. I will watch over you and ensure your safety.” Celeste remarked. She tucked him in the warm bed, setting incense and healing candles around him before leaving the room. “Rest well, Crusader. You have a long, happy life ahead of you.”
In the hall, she ran into Dixilynne Ryan.
“How is he, Celeste?”
“Fine now.” Celeste remarked. “I took the poison from his system and he is resting peacefully.”
“Did you Feed from him?” Dixilynne asked softly.
“I made a pact, and I stuck to it. No mortal under your supervision will ever be Fed upon by a healer while in my care.” Celeste remarked. “Unless it is their free will.”
Dixilynne was quiet, then. “Thank you, Celeste. Thank you very much.”