House of Night
The Shadow Bloodline Chronicles
The first thing I noticed as I was returning to the realm of the living was an unbelievable weariness. All I wanted to do right then was go back to sleep, but I knew that I had to keep returning to a state of consciousness. Keeping my eyes closed I focused on each of my senses.
Focusing on touch I realized that I was on my back in a bed, with my arms at my sides. I focused harder... Yes! I still had my clothes on! Phew! Focusing even harder didn't feel anything like blood around my mouth or on my cheeks under my eyes. I guess they must've cleaned up my face.
Moving on, I skipped taste and smell. Nothing was out of the ordinary there, so I didn't need them now. Instead I focused on sound. That's when I finally noticed that I wasn't alone.
"So what you're saying is, he's not dead?" I heard a woman say, and from her voice I knew she was stunningly beautiful.
Then a man replied, sounding a bit annoyed. "No, he is dead. But it's not permanent. He's going to return to his body." Well, he was right about that.
The woman spoke up again. "That makes no sense Pendragon! Once a fledgling dies, they're permanently dead. Their soul returns to our goddess in the Otherworld, they do not return. What gives you reason to believe this one will?"
"My reason is simple, for it happened to me." The man, who I'm guessing is Pendragon, responded. Then he went on to say "And thanks to your rash decision, I had to call his parents and assure them that their son was fine." Huh. Must be talking about me.
Deciding that now was the perfect time to get up, I opened my eyes and, fighting my exhaustion, rose to lean on my elbows. I brought one hand up to rub my eyes, and realized that I wasn't wearing my glasses.
Looking towards the edge of the bed I found the man and woman near it. The woman (who was, indeed, beautiful) was about to say something when she looked over at me. Her eyes widened as she jumped back and gave a little, shocked squeak. Yes, she actually squeaked. H. I. L. Arious! Thankfully I was too tired to laugh.
The man called Pendragon also turned to look at me, only he didn't jump. Instead he smirked and said "See! What did I tell you!" His dark blue eyes lit up in amusement as he walked over to the side of the bed, scratching at the red stubble on his chin. His hair was also red, and he kept it pulled back into a low ponytail, with a few loose hairs framing his mark.
He was a vampyre. But I knew he was a different kind of vampyre.
His mark consisted of tribal-like flames that framed his eyes, with a sword reaching his jaw line on each side. It would seem like a normal mark... if it was blue. No, the tattoos weren't the sapphire blue all marks were. They were black. Actually, it looked like a completed version of the mark I saw on my body's forehead.
"Took you long enough boy!" Pendragon said jokingly. "I wasn't even dead half as long as you." He held out his hand, and I offered mine, but he grabbed my forearm, saying "The name's Artair Pendragon. I'll be your mentor here at the House of Night." Then he released my arm and used his to motion towards the woman, who still looked a little shocked.
"And this jumpy lass is Keira, High Priestess of Nyx at this House of Night." Now Keira was what I expected of a vampyre, stunningly beautiful, with a blue mark of a delicate lace design. She seemed to pull herself together and said formally "Merry meet, young one. I apologize for being un-nerved earlier. It's just that..."
"Un-nerved? You were scared witless!" Pendragon interrupted, laughing. Keira shot him a look, but he didn't seem to notice... or care. "As I was saying," She continued. "I've never encountered a fledgling who has actually returned from the dead."
"I-it's alright." I said, rubbing at my face again. God I was tired. Pendragon must have noticed cause he snapped his fingers saying "I know what you need." He walked over to what looked like a mini-fridge and pulled out a bottle filled with a red liquid. Keira looked pissed. "What are you doing?" She asked him. "He has only been marked for a day! That won't do any..."
"Let me take care of my fledgling." Pendragon said, walking back over to me. "I know what I'm doing. I went through the same thing the boy is." He tossed the bottle at me, and I caught it awkwardly. I stared at it. The liquid was dark, and it looked thick. "Just drink it." Pendragon said impatiently.
Not knowing what else to do, I twisted the cap off and took a tentative sip. It was incredible! I've never in my life tasted anything this delicious. It exploded in my mouth with an unearthly energy. I quickly chugged the rest of the bottle, with each gulp washing away my weariness. On the last few drops I caught the familiar, metallic taste. And I knew what it was.
"That was blood, wasn't it?" I asked flatly. Pendragon grinned, saying "Hey! You're quicker than I thought! They had to tell me what it was when I first drank it." His face became serious as he turned to Keira. "If you would please, I wish to talk to the boy alone. There are things we must discuss." He said, not unkindly. Keira seemed offended, but did as Pendragon wanted and left the room, leaving me alone with the powerful being.
Pendragon sighed, then grabbed a nearby chair and sat next to the bed I still lay in. I wanted to ask so many things, but I wasn't sure what I could or should say. His next question, however, proved my caution was unnecessary.
"So boy," He began. "Tell me the name you gave to our Lady Death as your true name."