DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: For 'Underworld' and 'Underworld Evolution'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
We first met as kids playing in the woods by the building site. My family was woodworkers and rangers of the forests around the new castle being built. Her family was locksmiths and masons. Our parents knew of each other and had to coordinate in the building projects. We met and liked each other despite our differences. My name is Erika and hers is Selene. We became the best of friends over the couple of years we were located there. My family was finished before hers so we were relocated by the nobles to another land. We were forest rangers after all so we were finished before most others. We even sealed our friendship with a bond of blood, a tiny cut on each of our hands and smacked together with our nine year old strength. We made a promise to each other to never forget the other.
I grew but never forgot my best friend. It was many seasons before I saw her again.
So here I was back at the summer camp again. This year I was able to take on the role as a camp leader, which was an honor for my family. I knew most all the families from previous years and was happy to be back here. I loved being at the summer camp. I liked the forestry work, being outside most of the time, and being busy. Looking forward to the rest of the summer working with friends and family gathering wood and other goods for the year, but a few days after settling in I noticed some people I didn't know show up one evening.
I walked over to the small group of people who appeared to be nobles. I didn't know who they were and why they were talking to some of the younger workers. I noticed it was a mixed group of men and women. Three men, one an older gentleman, and two women stood loosely groups around a couple of younger kids. They all had darker hair and pale skin even for summer time. But since night had fallen and there were only a couple of torches in this area, it was difficult to see for sure. Everyone seems to defer to the older man who was doing the talking. All except the leader seemed to be around the same age as the other as me, and all of them were not dressed for the woods. Their clothes seemed to be composed of leather and shirts not buttoned up. There were frills and lace. I was not a noble and unfamiliar with current fashions but even so the nobles who employed my family and I still dressed better than this. The materials were almost all black and looked very expensive.
How odd, weren't they worried about bugs and thorns? I thought and then interjected myself into the situation. I managed to send the others on their way, but gained the attention of the leader. It was uncomfortable. He cocked his head to one side and took a little sniff. A predatory smile came upon his face and he stepped closer to me. I stepped back a bit and swallowed nervously asked them politely if I could help them. I apologized since this was a work camp for the local castle we did not have much here that might meet their standards, but I could do my best to make arrangements if need be. Did they need help or a place to sleep for the night? He laughed a bit at my last question and told me I smelled good before turning away and walking off into the woods. Everyone except the dark haired woman followed suit. Our eyes met and I felt a strange thrum shiver through me. Her dark curls and long black cloak with a soft fur ruffle made a fluttering sound as her head spun with her body. The woman swiftly took off to catch up with the rest of her group who had already mostly disappeared. She seemed to glide away so smoothly, to appear a leaf in the wind. Right before I lost sight of her completely, she glanced over her shoulder and our eyes met again. I swore her eyes flashed brown to blue. A shiver passed through me like someone walking over my grave. I decided right there in that singular moment they were trouble and up to absolutely no good. Only as I was lying down on my cot in the tent I shared with the other leaders did I realize an important detail. I had not heard them make any sounds as they walked off. My skin broke out in goose bumps and I said a silent prayer.
Over the next few days I noticed a few campers being a bit dazed, and only the occasional glimpse of the strange group of nobles. I felt nervous and excited and afraid every time I saw them. Yet it was always at a distance. I was not able to get close again. They made sure to disengage swiftly and disappear whenever I spotted them if I sighted them at all. None of the other leaders seemed to notice them at all. The situation did not sit well with me. I did not know what they were doing here and I was certain they were doing something to the other workers I saw them with. I wasn't sure what to do about it though or even what it was they were doing.
The decision on what to do was removed from my hands one early evening when while on a trail by myself and heading to another part of the camp I was surrounded by the group of strangely dressed people. The pale, pretty, and intriguing woman strode right up to me as the rest of them cut off any possible escape routes. I started to feel nauseous with fear on the inside. I stood firm though despite my small tremors. The woman upon getting into my personal space without touching me took a deep smell of me and her lips broke into a little smile. After glancing at the leader who gave a little head nod, she then grinned and reached out to cup my cheek. She made a low sound that I identified a few seconds later as growling. My eyes went wide in surprise at the identification of the sound, and my whole body started shaking at this point uncontrollably. I clenched my muscles and attempted to remain still but my body betrayed me and finished what had begun despite my attempts to stop it. My whole reality shifted in that moment. A bare breath. A gasp. A blink and a blur. I blacked out.
I woke up on my back. I noticed her standing over me and staring. I blinked and did a quick body check with my hands. I glanced around and found myself in a small rustic cabin room on a bed. There were no decorations on the walls and everything seemed to be suffering from age and disuse. The bed only had a plain white sheet and a plain blanket. We were the only people in the room. I tried to sit up and then stand but she put a hand on my shoulder and stepped closer while holding me in place. I started shivering again and she merely smiled showing what seemed longer than normal canine teeth. Not sure what to do, say, or how to behave, I tried to take deep breaths and calm down. I wanted out of the room, out of her space. My urge to run, flee, escape was over powering. I surged up again and this time was allowed.
I yanked open the door and ran smack into the leader. My head only barely came up to the middle of his chest. He pushed me back into the room. My back came up against another immovable object, too close to be the back wall, I realized he had backed me up against the woman. He gave a predatory grin leeway to take over his face and his eyes narrowed with what struck me as hunger. I definitely felt in over my head and terrified. I didn't know what was going on but I knew there was no way it was good. He grabbed my chin and tipped my head sideways to each side in order to smell my neck. He tugged me forward a step. I was thinking what the strangeness is this? I heard him sniffing and terror gripped my stomach. After getting a sufficient sense of my smell he let go of my chin and backed up a step. Right back into the woman, I could feel her solidness behind me. I still felt crowded, but released a breath I didn't realize I was holding till then. She felt less threatening to me than he did. My head started to feel sharp and my senses overwhelmed and threatening to cause me to faint again. He chuckled then deep in his chest and told me she likes me and that he now knows why I smell good. At first I wasn't sure who he was talking about, but then was reminded of the person firmly placed at my back by her soft growl, who hadn't moved the whole time.
I tensed up and before I could even think about stepping forward to gain some space, he came closer and told me why I smelled so sweet. He told me I was a virgin. I blushed so hard I felt the heat in my neck. He grinned more and then bowed down and smelled my belly. This made my skin crawl and I attempted to escape through the woman behind me, who merely grabbed my upper arms pinning them and forced me to hold still. She pulled me a bit tighter to her and we lost any small spaces that were there before. Even in my terror I felt her strength. She started growling again in her chest. I could feel it rumble on my back. He mumbled to himself and then grinned in obvious sheer delight while backing up, hands held up in a placating manner. I thought he might start smelling again, but no he just turned his hungry eyes upon me while clapping his hands together in glee before heading for the door. The fingers holding my arms tightened marginally. I tried to kick free of my captor to no avail. I was confused and angry.
"Let me go!" I shouted. "What do you want?" He stopped moving towards the door at this point and turned back to me with lips pursed. He turned his head and appeared to be considering as he looked over my shoulder. Finally he shrugged and agreed with a small wave of his hand. "She is yours my child. Cooperate and you can go free. Cooperate and we will spare your precious people." He spoke softly and then motioned toward the door and the woman holding me left. As he was leaving he tossed over his shoulder that after all I was the first one she had liked so she gets to keep me. He laughed as he closed the door. I sobbed as I dropped to my knees finally freed from her grasp.
I was allowed to leave then. I ran out of the empty hunting cabin. As soon as I got back to the camp I wrote a message to my brother, he had stayed at the castle to set up preparations for our return in the fall. I explained I was in trouble. My brother was the only family member I had left. My parents died a few seasons ago in a horrible tree accident. I wanted someone to know what was going on. After calming myself a bit I started taking action by removing her scent from me as much as possible. I felt covered with an odd metallic scent. I changed clothes after scrubbing till my skin was raw. Then I went around camp and kept working like normal, but making sure no one traveled through between the different camp sites alone. I claimed to the other camp leaders that I had spotted a couple of wolves. I came to the conclusion a few days later that I had been successful in protecting the workers better when I spotted the scary group again with frowns. I did not approach, but the leader had a very definite sour look on his face. He looked right at me and glared. He cuffed one of the young men in irritation and swept off into the woods. I took a deep breath and sighed in relief.
I was trapped again on a trail by these stalkers. I did not appreciate the terror tactics and bared my teeth. The leader growled back with much sharper looking teeth than I noticed before and I stopped protesting in surprise. The woman approached silently then and held out something to me from her delicate hand. It was a collar. Black leather with small silver looking studs and a small ring. I frowned in confusion. I thought what am I supposed to do with this? Are these people living fairy tales? I don't have a dog. I raised an eyebrow at her. He commanded me then, to wear it. I balked and stepped back but they tightened up the circle around me and reminded me I had agreed when they let me go. Saying I was unhappy would be an understatement. I was no dog. I am not a pet I told him. He laughed then and shook his head. He bared his teeth again and threatened me to take it or I could say my finals goodbyes. The woman hadn't really moved and so I snatched the collar out of her hand but felt reluctant to put it on. I didn't want to. I started to become recalcitrant again by glancing around for an escape route. Anything to spare myself this public sort of humiliation. I froze for a couple of heartbeats and whipped around in a crouch. From my lower position I slipped in between them and took off running down the trail. Only laughter followed. His mocking laughter. I could run, but hiding wasn't an option. I felt only humiliation and fury.
I ran back to my cabin and cried and fussed. My emotions were all over the place. The thought of wearing this collar for them, nay for her disturbed me. I was angry, confused, frustrated, and worst of all I thought, somewhere deep in my cockles, curious and intrigued. How horrid this all was for me. I made a right mess of my face feeling sorry for myself; thankfully the rest of my cabin was out on other projects. After a while I even tried putting it on, but I would raise it to my neck over and over without being able to buckle it. I threw it on the bed, tried tossing on the floor and under my bed, in my trunk. I lost track of how many times I flung this awful reality away from me. But I couldn't escape the thought of it. My hands burned and itched where I had been touched by it. My throat ached from expressing my frustrations. My stomach burned low with unbidden thoughts of what this might truly represent. On some level I knew, but my mind required denial as long as possible.
I took to carrying the collar in my pocket for a few strange reasons. I figured that way I always knew where it was and was easily within reach. I found myself reaching back and touching it frequently to assure myself that I hadn't lost it. None of the strange and scary group I had been seen in a few days. Yet the collar was a constant reminder for me. I gained a strange comfort that this was real no matter how outlandish and faerie like. This was not a figment of my imagination. No matter the level of fear, constant alertness is difficult to maintain so I started to relax in my routine at the camp, collar in pocket and all.
Unexpectedly after a moon, I woke to the blank rustic cabin room and the woman sitting on a plain wooden chair next to the bed doing the usual and staring at me with an unreadable serious express. Taking a few moments to examine my captor, I noticed her slightly longer than shoulder length curly black hair knotted and containing a few captured twigs and leaves. Her clothes were disheveled as well. A few holes were in various places. There even might have been stains but since all her clothes were black that was hard to tell. Her bright brown eyes didn't blink the entire time I looked at her. I had no idea what was going on inside her head. Suddenly I sprung out of the bed from under the blanket, throwing it her direction to give me an extra moment to reach the door and escape. No such luck however. I found my face and hands kissing the wall next to the door I was shoved me there forcefully. I grunted at the sharp pain and tried to push away from the wall. The woman had pinned my arms again and held firm, using the rest of her body to restrict my movements as well in as much as I became sandwiched between her and the rough wall. I felt a small tug on the back of my neck and then a small snick. I realized then that I was wearing the collar and I had just been leashed. I was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness and rage. I screamed and tried to thrash free of my captor. I was too weak and she held me without fail till I exhausted myself pointlessly. Her taller and stronger body felt like corded steel. I lost hope then. My breaths sounded harsh in the silence of the room. Tears slipped out against my will from my scrunched eyes. I made a few more weak attempts at breaking her grip and full body press to no avail. The woman did not scold or harm. Eventually I gave up and my body lost its tension and slumped.
My captor continued to hold me pressed against the wall for a spell as if to make sure I had really succumbed to the inevitable. I had and focused on regaining my breath and calming my body from all the stress. I had no desire to faint again. I felt tremors work their way through my arms and legs from the strain. Slowly the pressure was eased and I was released as she let go and took a couple of steps back into the center of the small room. I pushed off the wall and huddled in on myself and rubbed my arms where she had grabbed hold. I felt small and powerless. I asked why she was doing this when I felt a small tug on my collar. I wanted to scream it out but all that slipped out was hoarse rough sounds. I sounded weak. I ignored the soft insistent pull for a bit.
I glanced over my shoulder and saw her deep seated need showing in her eyes. Her eyes were bright blue now. She licked her lips as she looked at me. I bit my bottom lip and faced the wall again. Keeping my head would be a saving grace, a surviving factor. Sometimes you just got to accept things at face value as presented and move on without digging deeper. But this situation still grated on me and so I took action then now that last hurdle was gone. My fear and fury was still there but no longer dominating.
I spun to face her then and reached out with my right hand and tugged on the leash back towards me. I frowned and asked "what is this?" I pulled harder on the leash, but it didn't budge from her hands. She leaned her head to one side in a motion that reminded me of a hawk. I felt as if I was being studied and weighed. "Mine." Scratchy sounding. Her voice was unused. One word. The first from her. To me. A singular response to the new folk tale I found myself dropped in. Like dominoes the pieces fell into place. I grasped the entirety of my situation in a whole new way. Conflicting emotions brought blood to my cheeks. Flustered I looked down at my feet in response. Butterflies took over my stomach. I thought that my parents sure had never prepared me for this situation. My whole life left me lacking in how to conduct one's self socially in such a happenstance. I felt my body start to shake again like last time. I panicked. I grabbed my collar with both hands and tried to rip it off. Not a successful tactic, and a sharp tug stumbled me towards her. She looked upset. I felt we were merely reflections of each other then. She got an unwilling slave or pet, and I got an unwanted master. A trying event for both of us really.
She pouted then and looked like she might cry. "Mine," came the rough whisper into the tense silence. Not for this my mind argued inside my head. But I had. Promised. My life for theirs. This did not abate my rage though. I clenched my hands into fists, and went onto the balls of my feet. I hunched and knees bent slightly. I yelled then with all of me, "Well why don't you claim me then?" I bared my teeth and challenged her. Her face transformed them into a monster with long sharp teeth and she hissed. I took a sharp breath of surprise and lost my focus for a brief moment. I hadn't been expecting that let me tell you.
Then she was on me, like an unstoppable force of nature. I blinked and found myself in a completely different position. She held my wrists together with one hand behind my back. Her grip felt like steel bands and my struggles to break it were futile. Her hand reached up to grasp my hair and pulls it off to one side, and continuing the movement forced my right ear almost to my shoulder. I was gulping shallow bits of air even as I felt a burning take over my lower belly. The burning confused me. She licked my lower lip. I had bit myself hard enough to make it bleed a little. The licking turned into deep kissing. I felt on fire. She claimed my lips with hers, with teeth and tongue. I burned and wanted more. My first kiss left me dazed and wanting. I wasn't sure what, but I wanted it. She took a deep scenting of my collar bone and neck. I felt a new wetness on the junction of my shoulder and neck as I got licked. I froze at this point. Holding my breath to stop my heaving and struggles unsure what was coming next, I heard her purring softly. In a flash she bit me on the part she had marked with her tongue and sunk her teeth deeply. My old life died right there in the small death made by her marking and claiming. Then all went black again.
I woke again the cabin. My eyes spied a hand with a small cut coming to caress my cheek. I felt exhausted and a deep bone ache. It seemed to radiate out from my neck. I blinked and felt a memory fall into place. I colored my cheeks and felt the burn in my lower stomach. I blinked and held up our hands next to each other. We had matching cuts on our hands. I followed the hand up the arm to the face. It was her. It had been many seasons, but she had found me here. Selene was the woman who had just bit me. My best friend was a monster. A monster who had taken my first kiss. "Selene," I whispered "It's me, Erika." Before I could ask what happened her eyes widened in surprise and fear. A wail escaped from between her lips as she stood quickly and fled the room. Selene was gone before the chair hit the floor from the force of her standing. I called out to her but she never returned. A few hours later one of the other camp leaders found me. They had been coming to setup a new site and restock the hunting cabin. I healed from the physical wounds, but I didn't see the group of nobles again that summer. My neck scarred a little from Selene's bite, but my heart continued to bleed for my best friend who left me again. I wondered how she became what she was, but she wasn't around to let me know what had happened.
It was in the dead of winter when I was visited by another monster. One of the young men from the group had tracked me down while I was alone watching snow fall from the castle parapets. He wasn't gentle. He took everything. I died painfully in more than one way that night. I ceased to be Erika and became a monster. Not a human. Not a virgin anymore. My last thought before starting the long goodnight was why had Selene left me alone to die like this. I awoke to my new master Kraven. I hated him, but he kept me safe and taught me how to be a monster. How to be a proper vampire. How to survive. I spent years still wondering about Selene, but eventually her memories faded. The first bite from her had scarred and would raise the feelings of her bite when I let it. Mostly though I lived as best I could in the dark, with hunger, with a weaker master who I found out later didn't want me anymore than Selene had. After all I discovered he wanted Selene.
When I discovered my best friend was who my master wanted over me, I felt desolation. My best friend was the worst. She left me alone to die by another despite her claim. No one wanted me, and it mattered not who I wanted. What best friend leaves you to die alone? Everything twisted in my mind though I couldn't see it at the time. When Selene brought the soon to turn werewolf to the mansion, my rage rose again, but no matter I helped her anyway. If she was gone maybe Kraven would want me since she didn't, we had barely spoken in hundreds of years. She hunted and I hung on. No one needed a monster with forest skills after all. But I couldn't stop myself from wanting to help her with her mistake. I still believed in the promise of her claim despite the pain. Maybe I could again feel the confusing burn in my stomach that felt hotter than anything I had ever experienced with Kraven. Maybe Selene would one day remember her child hood friend.
I rubbed the small scar on my hand and looked around to make sure I had collected everything I wanted to leave with. The last item I pulled out of a hidden floor board was a collar. I had kept it all these years, replacing parts and pieces as needed. I held it tightly in my hand reliving the memories. My fingers softly touched my lips unconsciously. I knew from Kraven that Selene was missing most of hers from her childhood. I had figured out that's why she didn't wholly remember me that summer. I sighed and slung the backpack on my shoulder and placed the collar in my pocket. It felt comforting. After she left on the run, I left the mansion. I knew war was coming. I felt Kraven die. I found out the mansion was destroyed. I hoped Selene lived. Maybe one day we could be best friends and play together again. Maybe one day Selene would remember the woman she had claimed.
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