Font size: - +
When Vivienne woke up, it was nightfall. She heard music in the far off distance and the sparkle of lanterns from beyond the trees. She sat up and realized she was still in the meadow. Apparently, she had slept through the entire day. Vivienne slowly stood up, feeling every muscle in her body ache from her exertions the night before. She reached for her bag and took out the water bottle. She drank a large gulp out of the bottle and looked down at the flattened grass where Blake had been sleeping that morning. He probably had long since disappeared.
Finally noticing how hungry she was, Vivienne ripped open her bag of crackers and shoved a handful into her mouth. As the crumbles fell from the sides of her mouth, she wiped her lips on the back of her sleeve. Her were clothes were covered in Strigoi leaves, dark waters, and all sorts of blood stains but she didn’t care. Vivienne heard the sound of cheering in the distance. Was there a party going on in the meadow?
Step by step, Vivienne slowly wandered toward the glowing lights. She couldn’t believe her eyes. There was a stage with lanterns set up in the meadow. Vivienne stayed at the periphery to avoid scaring anyone with her messy appearance. She wandered around through the trees, trying to see over the crowd. The entire of Remin must have been there. The spotlights on the stage were so bright they seem to light up entire night.
Vivienne squinted to see. She jumped as she felt a hand catch hers from behind. The hand was ice cold. Vivienne didn’t need to see his face to know he was beside her.
“You startled me,” Vivienne whispered to Blake. “Where did you go?” Vivienne glanced over at him to see him folding up a bloody handkerchief and place it back into his pocket. His face was paper white and she caught the glimmer of fangs in his mouth. So, he was back to being a vampire, for now. She imagined her life force was probably tapped out from all that work with being the chosen one and all.
“I went for a snack,” he replied with a hint of a smile at her widening eyes. “It was just a fawn I found wandering in the forest. Or do you have a moral opposition to venison too?”
Vivienne chuckled. “Well, I guess I don’t want you to starve.” She turned her eyes back to the festival. A woman in a wheel chair had appeared on stage and she had begum speaking into a microphone.
“Today, I have the honor of passing on my title to the 35th Grand Master of Remin,” she said and lead the crowd in thunderous applause. “The outcome of year’s trials is truly unexpected. We are a small town and in the past all our champions have been Remin natives. This year’s champion is not only an outsider, she has passed the trials without a single scratch. She is truly the chosen of the Strigoi. Let’s give them a warm welcome.”
Vivienne watched as her parents and Janun nervously stepped up to the microphone. Her father stepped up to speak first. He looked like more a wreck than usual with his spectacles sitting crooked on his face and his cardigan completely misbuttoned.
“Thank you Remin!” He said. “Janun is happy to accept this uh. . .honor. I always knew my Janun was something special. Even when she was very little, she loved to play in the forest. What is this? It’s some kind of a hiking award right?” Her father looked to her mother for encouragement but she was equally confused. Then he turned back to microphone and blumbered on. “No matter what this is, I guess it is as the bard said, some have greatness thrusted upon them!”
Beside her Blake had to suppress a chuckle. “What an endearing speech.” Vivienne crossed her arms as she watched her father turn around and give Janun a bear hug. She heard the words from Blake’s memory in her head, they were two insignificant children, never to matter, never to decide the fate of nations. Vivienne wondered if deep inside she had wanted to be the daughter to prove him wrong.
“Sometimes, our greatest achievements are ones our parents never to get witness” Blake whispered. “Whether they are gone from the world or they just never looked hard enough to see.”
Vivienne nodded at him. She suddenly remembered and unbuckled the gold watch from her wrist. She handed it back to Blake. “This belongs to you. You should wear it. You look like him when you do.”
“I’m not my father, you know,” Blake said as he studied the watch. His well-manicured fingers wiped the dried blood from the clock face. “Going forward, you should remember that. I have none of his idealism. My father would never have drank the dark waters. He was a good man. I don’t have that luxury.”
In the silence that ensued, Vivienne continued to stare at the counsel members who all patting each on the back for finding the next Grand Masters. Would Blake really have wanted this for her? To rule a small town in order to challenge a empire?
“You never wanted me to be Grand Master, did you?” Vivienne asked. “You sent me down there to discover my powers; to see if I would have the stomach to kill my friends.”
Blake paused and then he slowly nodded. “If we are going to challenge Lady Maglania you must be willing to go through everyone you care for, even me.” Blake paused. “Especially me.”