GFD: Dead Language Chapter 1

Gone From Daylight: Dead Language
by Comicality

 

 

Such passion in a boy his age.

Naturally, it’s hard to look at his boyish features and remember that Jericho, while MUCH younger than myself, is already several years into his crossover. Making him almost eighteen, but not quite. A beautiful child, with long brown hair, almost to the shoulders, and piercing hazel eyes that were made to enchant and control anyone of either sex from a distance. Locked into the tender age at which he was was born into darkness, mere weeks before his 14th birthday, I often wondered if he could feel me watching him. Admiring his gentle beauty. There was a certain evil charm about him that was so undeniably alluring that it nearly triggered an emotional response at first glance. If I hadn’t been so aware of my own weaknesses, I might have fooled myself into thinking that I was actually in love with him. And from the responses I get from him at times…he might have taken advantage of such a thing. Despite his angelic presentation…I have lived in darkness long enough to know a ‘schemer’ when I see one. He’s far from being a harmless opportunist. There’s wickedness behind those eyes. Not that it makes him any les attractive. Sometimes it makes him more so.

My name is Mason Vicke, and while I may look 22 years old to the human eye…I have been in darkness for nearly 60 years now. Funny how fast time passes when you stop caring about it putting a limit on your lifespan.

I’ve been a teacher at this small ‘school’ of sorts here, in this abandoned vampire library, for a few decades now. It exists underground, where we live in peace and harmony with one another, with very few interruptions from the outside world. Vampires may come and go as they please, but they understand that training themselves to add to the collection of vampire scriptures is a serious duty. One that requires discipline and focus. Most remain here within our walls until they feel they are ready to tackle their own sacred texts by themselves. Through discussion, meditation, scripture evaluation, and a sharing of life experiences…we hope to one day discover all of life’s mysteries collectively, and then share them with those of us who have gone searching for answers. We are the guardians of truth. That is what writing vampiric scriptures is all about. Finding that piece of your soul that connects to the invisible spirit of every living thing on the planet…and being able to express in words that which others cannot. And allowing them to absorb and hold sacred the lessons you have to bring them. To give them that hidden rush of enlightenment that only true knowledge can bring. Our scriptures, what we leave behind…is a blueprint for a future not yet discovered. It is our duty to not let out perspective die with us. However long we may live in darkness.

This is my classroom. My students are mostly halflife vampires with certain advanced ideas on life that many other vampires are unwilling to accept. Other vampires, with age, often find themselves so stuck in their ways while human that they become too stubborn to listen to or embrace the passionate teachings of those much younger than them. But I believe that halflifes have a true advantage in their views. Their knowledge is new, radical, and while it is sometimes tainted with the inexperience of youth…it is no less valuable. No less important. And I have learned more from the enlightened halflife collection of ‘children’ in our monastery, than I could ever hope to learn from most of the Elders that I’ve come into contact with over the years. Sometimes familiarity with life in general can breed arrogance. But simply because you’ve seen the seasons change regularly on schedule for a century without fail…it is wrong to assume that it will always be so. And when the change comes…they will be unprepared to deal with the adaptations needed to survive. Because they are no longer ‘open’. No longer willing. That is where youth will always have the rest of us beaten. Their flexibility for change is unmatched.

My sire once said it best. ‘Wisdom…is a dusty old book of outdated ideas, based on the temporary guidelines of a world that no longer exists, and yet fights, tooth and nail, in a feeble attempt to remain relevant.’ How very true that is.

I walk through the rows of my students, which are surprisingly brightly lit, despite the fact that it is only by the light of fire that I allow my students to write. I find that it calms the senses, and awakens the emotions. I have seven boys, and four girls, under my tutelage at the moment…but it was Jericho who has always been my prize student over the last year and a half. He still has much to learn, yes. But his understanding and study of the scripture writing method is beyond compare. He understands concepts that even baffle some of the most advanced vampires in our society. His writings, once they are able to truly convey the truth carried in his heart, will certainly be something to be respected, and remembered. But he must first learn to lose his ego. I can feel it creeping into his every word, and scriptures are not about the writer. They are about what’s written. That is a balance that can’t be broken. Not if he wants to truly leave a valuable mark behind.

The sound of a scribe being thrown to the floor caused the rest of my students to stop what they were doing and look up to see what had happened. Young Mila, a vampire girl of 15, only 2 years in darkness, had become frustrated, yet again. “I can’t THINK of anything! The words won’t COME to me, Preceptor Vicke!” She has the gift of knowing the message, but has yet to find the gift of transmitting it to others. She is still so new.

I make my way across the room, and pick her scribe up from the floor, placing it back on her desk. “You must learn torelax, Mila. It is not a race. Nor is it an ‘assignment’.” I tell her, seeing her almost aggravated to the point of tears. “You see…writing scriptures will come to you when you are most open to their message. You don’t have to create it…you merely have to let it flow through you.”

“I’m TRYING! But I can’t think of ways to SAY it! I keep trying to get this idea out of my head, but every time I think about it, it just…fades away! It makes my head hurt soooo much!”

“I know.” I said, calmly. “The struggle to find an answer is easy. The struggle to find the truth behind that answer, is much more difficult. Some vampires have gone through decades of hard work and meditation, just to convey a single message to the rest of the world. But when the time is right, and your mind is willing..the scripture will write itself…with you as a humble witness to its creation. You have to remember that the pen and the page are not the instrument. YOU are the instrument, Mila. The scribe you hold and the page you scribble upon are merely tools with which you can make your message visible to others. It’s a secondary expression. Do you understand?”

Damien, a 16 year old boy with a knack for mischief, spoke up from the other side of the classroom. “Can’t we just write this stuff with a regular pen, Preceptor Vicke? Just give me a pen and a friggin’ notebook or something? I hate using this big old metal thingy! It’s too long and weird, and it makes my fingers and wrists hurt.”

Leaving Mila’s side, I walked to the front of the room to get my students’ focus, and perhaps provide them with a much needed break. “Let me have your attention, please. Damien, here, raises a very good question. Why not write your scriptures with a pen? Or a pencil, or chalk, or paint? Why not with a quill?” The students all looked up, absorbing every word, as I picked up my own scribe, and pushed my small writing desk back against the wall to give me more room. “What you are using here to write your early practice scriptures is not called a ‘big old metal thingy’, as Damien would have you believe.” Soft giggles traveled around the room, and they leaned forward to learn more. All except for Jericho, who was obviously busy having a moment of writing inspiration, and continued to pen his own scripture since he already knew the story. “This is a ‘scribe’. It is the traditional tool used by vampires, throughout our cultural history, to pen some of the greatest vampire prophecies and scriptures ever written. Ninety seven percent of all the works located in the Nifty Archives…were written with one of these. Vampiress Velora had one custom made for every new scripture that she began. Jaxsper Finn’s original scribe has been displayed as a divine artifact in a Library on the West coast Even Comicality uses one when he pens his scriptures…prophecies and lessons that were thought long finished until recently when he began again.” I stepped forward to show them my scribe up close, the glimmering surface causing their excited eyes to glow. “The scribe is 21 inches long. Every inch, representing the 21 steps towards the concept of truth, as discovered by an ancient vampire preceptor by the name of Cassian Marcellus. He was one of the first to teach other vampires to write and speak their truths for the masses, and leave the scriptures behind so that all of vampire kind can learn from one another as kin. Erasing the illusion of time, by creating messages that were both relevant…and immortal.” I displayed my scribe proudly for the other students, showing them how elegant the design really was when fully appreciated. The tip is weighted down to make it easier for you to write out your thoughts and feelings without excess pressure…but yes, it does put a strain on your wrists and fingers. But this is not meant to hinder you, nor is it a mistake.” I told them. “This…is bydesign.”

“But why is it so CLUMSY?” Damien asked.

“Hehehe, believe me, Damien…this particular instrument…is anything but ‘clumsy’.” And with that, I adopted a firm stance in front of them, and held the scribe out in front of me. “You see…centuries ago, as our population increased, and our existence became known, it became a very dangerous mistake to be discovered by the humans around us. Once the slayers began their run on vampire habitats throughout Europe and China, we found ourselves being exterminated as a species. Facing extinction was a matter that had to be dealt with immediately. Therefore, the Elders got together to form communities and exert powers of strict control over each province in order to keep our societies a heavily guarded secret. Outlawing the forbidden texts, and preventing any more from being brought to light, for fear that our remaining numbers would be discovered…and wiped out.” With a few turns of my wrist, I slashed quickly through the air with my scribe. The speed, astonished the other students, as it cut through the air with a slight whistling sound. I had even gotten Jericho’s attention again with my display. A difficult task, once he had gotten involved in his text. “However, the scriptures, and our expression of truth, was not to be censored or undermined. And this caused a great deal of problems between us. In the old days…a vampire could be hunted, tortured, and killed for revealing our secrets out in the open Even if it was meant to be a message of peace and love…it could not be supported by the governing factions of the Elders without severe consequences.” A few more quick movements, and I stood balancing on one leg, as I held the scribe out in my fingers, and twirled it violently, before taking a strong and steady hold of it again. “So the underground vampires found themselves caught between the human slayers, and the hidden assassins sent by the Elders. Yet they carried on. Despite ALL of the hatred and persecution they faced and ALL of the militant, close-minded, opposition against them…they REFUSED to stop writing! Their message was the TRUTH! And it HAD to be heard! But, in doing that, they had to find a way to protect themselves from enemies and spies.” I whipped the scribe around more, faster and faster as I spun in a circle, jumped up, and landed in a cross-legged prayer position on the floor.

“WHOAHHHH….” Sighed the class in unison.

“The scribe had to double as a weapon. The ones you are using now don’t have the bladed tips that the traditional ones had, because they are only meant to be a teaching tool for students. But the TRUE vampire scribes…they were VERY lethal indeed.”

“Do YOU have a real one, Preceptor Vicke?” Mila asked, her eyes wide.

“Indeed, I do. Two of them, to be exact.” I replied, and the students began to pick up their own scribes to examine them more closely for the first time. “The original scribes were razor sharp on one side, and contained a hollow, star shaped, tip…to be used as a shiv to puncture a vampire’s heart during battle. Those who wrote many of the scriptures we read today, were considered traitors and renegades by the rest of vampire kind. They had to remain shrouded in mystery to avoid execution. The assassins could come for them at ANY time without warning. So the scribe itself had to become the weapon of choice. It remained ‘heavy’ in order train their wrists and fingers to stay strong and firm in case of a surprise attack. The very motions of the scribe when writing in vampire languages, are the blueprint for an almost unbeatable martial art. The letters of the coded text were designed with fighting applications in mind. Certain letters in the vampire alphabet, could sever a vampire’s head from his body if the same strokes were applied in combat. THAT is wh it is designed the way it is.” I said to them. “In order to use a scribe properly as a weapon, one would have to practice with it constantly. And what better way to do that than through their writings? It was the only way for them to survive.” I used my scribe to show them a few of the many tricks I had learned since my crossover. I have to admit to enjoying the staring eyes of my students as I showed them just how deadly a scribe could be in the hands of an experienced user. I could twirl it at lightning speeds between my fingers, until it became a blur to all who were watching, and even spin it around my wrist flawlessly without holding it at all.

“That is SO cool….” Damien whispered, suddenly catching himself, and trying to regain his ‘cool’ demeanor.

“The scribe became such a feared weapon among the human slayers and the deployed vampire hunters, that 74 offensive moves were designed around the art of actually throwing the scribe up into the air…” I tossed the instrument upwards, getting the whole room to watch it twirl in the air. Then…with both hands out, I shouted LOUDLY…getting the whole CLASS to suddenly jump in shock! And then caught the scribe in my hand as it came back down. “…To surprise the enemy.” I said. “You see, the opposition had their eyes SO intensely focused on the scribe itself, that they would tilt their heads back. exposing their throats and chests, while watching it float in the air.” I gently laid my tool back down on my desk, and smiled at the expression on their innocent faces. “We teach the use of a scribe as a ‘tradition’ in this monastery. And as a nod of honor and respect, to those lost vampires who were forced to spend their entire existence in the shadows…with the intention of bringing us all the truth despite persecution. That is why it is so important.” They seemed to have had their concentration broken for now, but it was just as well. Some classes were better kept short. Fatigue can often warp the vision of the writer. It is always best to work at a pace that best supports the heart and emotions needed to write an enlightening piece of work. “Why don’t we take a recess? Close your tablets, and take some time to clear your thoughts. We’ll come back in two hour’s time.”

They all nodded and said, “Yes, Preceptor Vicke.” Gathering up their stuff and moving to leave the classroom. I noticed Damien studying his scribe a bit closer, swishing it around in the air a bit to see if he could figure out its more ‘lethal’ uses. I could only smile and shake my head. And that is when Jericho approached my desk.

“I’d really like for you to read my newest scripture, Preceptor Vicke. I think you’ll find it rather entertaining.” He smiled. I often had to turn to keep from looking at him head on, as he no doubt knew what effect his untouchable beauty did to me.

“A new scripture? So soon after the last one? You’re becoming quite the workaholic these days.” I said, moving back as he took another step forward to get closer. Such a teasing tilt in his boyish grin. “What is this one about?”

“Love.” He said softly, looking for my reaction. “Forbidden love, especially. I found it an interesting topic. What do youthink?”

Slightly flustered, I kept my composure. “You know, there was a vampire from the 18th century by the name of Vetricio who wrote some rather intelligent scriptures solely on the concepts of love that was never meant to be. Perhaps reading those passages can give you some guidance.”

“Who said anything about a love that was never meant to be?” He asked, moving even closer, a flirtatious glare in his eyes. “What if it was meant to be…just…merely forbidden by people who didn’t understand?” Stuck with the hormones of a teenager for eternity…how could I trust his advances? Besides…no good can come from falling in line with his subtle manipulations.

“Jericho…you should be taking a break right now. Don’t overwork yourself. Ok?” Luckily for me, the spell was broken. Even though Jericho kept his smile. He moved away, and waved softly in my direction as he headed for the door.

“I’ll see you in a few hours, Preceptor Vicke. Maybe you’ll let me take what I’ve written…and read it to you aloud some time. You know…alone.” And he left the room, allowing me to breathe easily once again. I have to admit to occasionally fantasizing about what it would be like…to hold him. To be with him. I wouldn’t have to make any sort of effort at all, not even for a taste of beauty so alluring. I would merely have to give up. Give in. And break the weakened chains of temptation serving to hold me back. To kiss any part of that boy’s soft flesh would be a religious experience in itself.

But that isn’t ‘love’ driving me to think these things. No…I remember what love was. I remember what it felt like. And I remember what it ‘cost’ me.

I am sure I could teach Jericho many a sad lesson on the topic of forbidden love.

“Preceptor?” Came a voice from around the corner, and I saw one of our human monks from the monastery standing in my doorway.

“Yes?”

“Mage McClaren would like to see you in his office. Privately.”

“Certainly Give me just a few minutes here…”

“He says it is a matter of urgency, sir.” The monk told me, bowing his head to show that he meant no disrespect.

It wasn’t like Mage McClaren to treat much of anything as a matter of urgency, so I agreed to go right away. What was this all about?

Entering the head Mage’s quarters with a light knock, I saw every eye in the room turn to stare in my direction. And the first thing that I noticed, besides the monks being used to guard the door, weapons ready without a visible ‘threat’ anywhere in sight…was the sight of another man in the room behind the Mage’s desk. He looked as though he was about my age when he crossed over, maybe 3 to 5 years older. He had a thin black moustache, and a long scar on his left cheek. While he may have looked somewhat ‘normal’ to everyone else…I knew better. I have seen this kind of vampire before The very aura of them is unmistakable. I could tell by the unwavering stare of his eyes…analyzing me before I even entered the room. I could tell by the arch of his back, standing at attention, his muscles just lose enough to jump into action if needed. The tension was there. The dark vibration of a life in conflict…evident to all who have fallen victim to its heartless ways.

This was no normal vampire. This was a soldier.

Our eyes connected, and my body tightened up with an instant sense of hostility towards him. A hostility that he seemed to welcome with a smirk the second he became aware of it. “You called for me, Mage McClaren?” I asked, keeping my eye on the loathsome creature behind him.

“Ah, Preceptor Vicke, please come in.” The Mage said, and nodded for everyone else to leave the room except for us three. “Thank you for coming quickly. There is a matter of great importance that we must discuss.”

“So I was told.” I said, and looked back at the other man, who was now blowing me an instigating kiss as he saw the anger in my eyes increasing with every breath

“You must first realize that is discussed here can never leave this room. The details of this assignment needed your particular expertise…there is no one else.”

“I see.” I said, and directed my next question to the man behind him. “Is that what you do? You…’keep secrets’?”

“If I have to.” He said, his voice deep and gravely, as though he had spent years chain smoking cigarettes before crossing over into darkness.

The Mage stepped in, seeing my mood darken. “Preceptor Vicke…this is ‘Charlemagne’. He’s been sent here to assist us.”

“Charlemagne? Interesting name. Must be very ‘fitting’ for…whatever it is you do.” I said, knowing the answer without having to hear him speak it aloud.

“If you mean what I USED to do…then yes, it was very fitting indeed.” He didn’t back down, not once. He must have been quite good at his job.

There was no hiding it, and the Mage came clean “Yes…Charlemagne was once…a hunter. But he has retired from that line of work. That’s not why he’s here…”

“That’s not why he’s here???” I said, the insult of it raising the tone of my voice. I moved closer to the Mage’s desk and placed both hands on the top. “You bring an ASSASSIN into our sanctuary??? This is a place of knowledge and peace. A place of SPIRIT! And you allow this murderer to stand here in the head office like a welcomed GUEST?” How could he do this! He KNOWS how I feel about hunters! He KNOWS what I lost!!!

“Preceptor Vicke…please understand…”

Charlemagne spoke up, “No need to apologize for me, old man. If this little sweetheart has a problem with me, let him speak his mind.”

“It disgusts me to think that you were given access to our school. Your very presence is a blasphemy to everything we stand for. Everything the scriptures stand for. There’s nothing so low as a vampire who would murder his own kind…”

“Awww, I like this guy. You make it sound so ‘sweet’ when you say it, sissy boy.” He told me, and I was almost ready to jump across that desk and tear at him with everything I had until the Mage calmed my nerves. His extra seeping into my system, creating an physical sedative to soothe and relax me almost instantly. Had he not used his abilities on me, I doubt I would have been able to keep the control I once took so much pride in.

“Preceptor Vicke…..Mason…” He said, creating a more personal connection. One that reminded me of our friendship, and the fact that he would have NEVER put me in the same room with a hunter if it wasn’t of the utmost importance. “…Charlemagne isn’t here as an assassin. He is here as a protector.”

“A protector? A protector of what, exactly?”

They both exchanged a look, and Mage McClaren stepped forward so that he could speak quietly, as Charlemagne moved towards the office door to look for any eavesdroppers. Whatever it was, it was definitely being treated as top secret. “There is this..boy. He is only 14, very new in his crossover. And he was brought into our sanctuary as a matter of ‘desperation’. He needs our help…to be kept safe.”

“To be kept safe? What is this about?”

“The boy has been targeted by the Elders themselves. There is nowhere else for him to go.” The Mage told me.

“Targeted. By people like HIM, no doubt.” I said.

“Keep talking, sweetheart. You keep taking little pokes at me…I’m liable to poke back.” Charlemagne replied.

The Mage continued. “This boy…he grew up with parents and grandparents from different backgrounds. He was fluent in two or three different languages, then went on to study more linguistics in high school. You could say that it became a passion of his. Then…nine months ago, he crossed over into our world. A few months later, his extra began to develop. A very special extra indeed.”

“Why would the Elders suddenly see the need to target a newblood for extermination? That doesn’t make any sense.” I asked.

“The boy has no direct sire. He was turned, then abandoned. Left to take up residence in a sanctuary far from here. He made friends with another vampire who supposedly had stolen some very valuable texts from an Elder’s vault. Some of them very ‘recent’. He was at the sanctuary in order to find safe passage out of the country. But the sanctuary was raided. Many lives were lost. And this vampire handed the sacred texts to the boy to be kept safe. There has to be something extremely important about these scriptures, because the Elder’s were willing to kill a LOT of vampires to get it back.”

“How could some halflife boy studying languages possibly be of any threat to the Elders?”

“Because…he’s not STUDYING anything.” The Mage informed me. “He simply…knows what they say.”

“I’m afraid I don’t…understand.”

“When his extra manifested, something from his life carried over into darkness. Any language, any symbol, any form of written text, any spoken words…his mind can decode them. I don’t know how or why, but he can effortlessly pick up and translate anything he sees. With no mistakes. And in this particular case…this is a very dangerous ability to have, considering the texts that are in his possession.”

“Why is that?”

Again…another exchanged look of concern between the hunter and the Mage. “The scriptures…they’re written in verzpertillio.”

It almost sounded like a boom of thunder to hear the word spoken in a normal tone of voice. The meaning of it hit me, and it was almost as if the foulest of curse words had been shouted out and sent echoing off the walls of a full church in service.

“That’s…that’s impossible.” I said, lowering my voice. “You said some of these texts were RECENT.”

“Some of them…ARE recent, Preceptor.” The Mage replied.

“That’s not possible. Verzpertillio is a dead language. It hasn’t been used for centuries. MANY centuries. Most of the words don’t even have relevance to anything we use in this day and age. Nobody knows the language anymore, nor can they read the texts.”

“You can.” Charlemagne said from the door. “People talk. The underground networks tell me that you were the guy to come see.”

The Mage said, “You’re fluent in verzpertillio, Mason…”

No modern vampire is ‘fluent’ in verzpertillio…”

“But you know more than most. You’ve studied the ancient scriptures. You’ve taught yourself to a degree way beyond that of any other known vampire in the area.”

“I studied in SECRET. The language is forbidden…”

“To US, yes! But not to this child. The boy is a prodigy. He can look at the texts and read them just as clearly and as easily as you can, if not more so.”

“If he can read the scriptures, then what do you need me for?” I asked, still in disbelief over what was being said here.

“They’ve been written in some kind…verzpertillian ‘code’. Something that, to him, makes no sense. I assume it was done to keep even other Elders from knowing what was written there.” Mage McClaren put a hand on my shoulder, and looked into my eyes. “The extra you use with your students…you can bridge the gap between the language and the meaning. That is your special ability. No matter what those coded words say little by little you can decipher their meaning and give us and understanding of what they say Between his extra to read what you can’t read, and your extra to decode what he can’t understand…we can figure out what these texts say before it’s too late.”

There was a light knocking at the door, and the Mage gave the nod to open it. And it was at that moment that the young boy entered the room. It would be an understatement to say that we were in the presence of an angel. Of all the boys I had seen, none had come close to this boy’s innocent beauty. He was almost too timid to enter the room, peeking around the corner first, and waiting for his guardian, Charlemagne, to tell him it was safe. The boy had light blond hair that seemed to literally light up the room. It would almost glow from its sun touched presentation. A pair of thin ruby lips surrounded his tiny slit of a mouth, and large doe-like light brown eyes, that contained such a purity in their gaze that it nearly made you feel ‘wicked’ to look into them for longer than a few seconds without turning away. I was struck silent by the delicate grace with which he came in, and the Mage gave the slim shivering boy a place to sit at a nearby table. Naturally shaken by having been ‘hunted’ by murderers for the last few months, I imagine that every strange face must seem like a danger to him. He literally had to hold on to the sides of the table to keep from trembling.

Mage McClaren looked at me, and said, “He needs our help, Mason.” He said. “There have been 13 assassination attempts between here and California. Whatever it is that’s written in those documents…they must be extremely forbidden. The very fact that they were written in verzpertillio alone is forbidden. The Elders involved are willing to kill anyone who has had them in their possession or has even SEEN them. If we don’t figure out that code, and word gets back to the Elders that this boy was here within our walls…it could mean the end of ALL of us. The children included.” I looked over at the Mage, feeling the low blow to my heart as he mentioned the demise of my students. I looked back towards Charlemagne, who was still standing at attention, guarding the only entrance to the office. Ready for anything.

I then turned my attention to the boy, who was nearly shaking himself sick in front of us. I slowly approached the table, attempting to recall my studies of verzpertillio to see if anything like this could possibly be true. “egredio… paruzereum eum dequm adiovereum diero vertillio veronato derom nozedeum?” I asked. The boy was quiet for a moment, swallowing hard in fear of me. “prodentimas quezim eur verzidentereo?” Still no answer from him. I turned to the others and said, “I think you were sadly mistaken. I’m sorry.”

“YES!” The boy blurted out. “Yes…yes, I do.” Even nervous, his voice was a gentle song to my ears. Slightly higher than I expected, but boyish nonetheless.

“What is it you’re answering to?” I asked, intrigued.

“You…you said…” His shy voice faded, and he looked down at the table, afraid to say any more.

“It’s ok. Go ahead.” I encouraged him, walking over and squatting down beside him to see him at eye level. “No one’s gonna hurt you here. You can tell me. What is it you think I said?”

He almost looked as though he were being asked to confess a crime the way he hesitated, but then he answered, “You said…’So…you think you know the language of the shadows?’ And when I didn’t answer, you said, ‘Do you understand what I’m saying?’…and….and I said yes.” Taken aback, I tried to rise to my feet again without feeling dizzy.

“He’s…right…” I said softly. Quickly, I went over to the Mage’s desk, and grabbed some paper. I wrote down a sentence in verzpertillio, using the ancient script, and put the paper down on the table in front of him to see if he could read it.“osereum vire isti?”

This time, as the boy looked at the page, I noticed that he ran his fingers over the text, and his eyes began to give off a bit of an extra glow “Yes, sir. It says, ‘none may know of the words written here. It is…forbidden’” That’s when he looked up at me, “I’m sorry. Did I do something bad?”

My heart began to race with what I had just seen. He was definitely a newblood. His humanity flowed through him unashamed. I could practically breathe it in. It was just as intoxicating as his beauty. “No…no you did nothing wrong. Nothing…nothing at all.” I said, and backed away from him to talk to the Mage again. “Do you have any idea what you’re asking me? Do you have any clue as to what this boy could uncover in the ancient vampire scriptures? Secrets that have been hidden, buried, long forgotten…this child has the power to translate them.”

“Yes. But only with your guidance, Preceptor.” He told me. And as I took a deep breath, I looked back over my shoulder at the boy who was secretly listening to every word. By agreeing to this, I am putting myself and my students in danger. I am being given access to prophecies that I was never meant to see. And I was condoning the sanctuary of a trained killer among the rest of us.

It was only the desperately pleading eyes of the boy that got me to make up my mind.

“I’ll…do what I can.”

“Please…work fast. We don’t know how long we can keep him here. If he’s being tracked by the Elders’ elite…they could come knocking at our door at any time.” Mage McClaren warned me. “Charlemagne is here to protect him, but he can only do so much. It’s best we decode the text and move him to a safer location as soon as possible.”

“I understand.” I said, and walked back over to the boy. “What is your name?”

“Shiloh, sir…” He said, shaking my hand lightly.

“Heh…Shiloh.” I said, and the Mage looked at me, slightly confused by my reaction. “Shiloh…it means ‘gift’.”

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