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Date Posted: 14:03:59 12/08/09 Tue
Author: Esther
Subject: A reintroduction is this way >>>
In reply to: Esther 's message, "Here we go again" on 13:52:42 12/08/09 Tue


Excerpt from working title ‘Sacrifice’
by E.M. Sawatzky © 2005 All rights reserved.
Posted for critiquing purposes only and does not constitute publication.

As foretold in runes of long ago, a man was conceived. His birthright, the legacy which became his upon the union of moral darkness and sinful purity, is to rape and plunder under the guise of healing. Without knowledge he does wrong he is vindication, a sworn enemy and a pledged saviour for the fallen. Those he claims under his protection are shielded by his nature. He acts upon his instincts; urged to commit violence he practices evil. This acknowledged brutality is the weapon he wields to care for the weak. Yet, with each act of humanity his emotions forge the shackles of his personal torture. Vulnerable, those desperate enough to seek him out are in even greater peril. His wrath - his compassion - is inescapable and time corrupt. He alone is a renewable power that grows stronger with each transgression.

Blood calls to blood. And his will not let him die.

~*~

Wood scraped against stone. A squeak of the chair and the smell of neglect heralded the removal of his weight. Cobwebs stretched and tore, adhering to his hair and shoulders. Disturbed by the subtle movement, decades of filth - a fragile link to the passage of time - swirled around his feet. Hands braced against the edge of the table, long fingers curled into claws, his fingernails dug deep into the surface and splintered the wood. His senses roused, Rurik Voikin turned his head and listened.

Autumn leaves amplified the footsteps in the distant woods. Bare feet, soft and hurried, placed without care for roots, snapping twigs or puddles. The utter recklessness indicated by the oblivious flight foretold the necessity of the child’s visit. His personal preference. Children, after all, provided the most satisfaction.

Wait. He closed his eyes and sought the sight of mind. A growling protest emerged from low in his throat, loud in the tomb-like silence of the room.

A man followed, his steps placed with caution in an attempt to keep his presence unknown. To avoid the crunch of dead leaves, he instead chose the softness of the pine needles. He stepped around the puddles. He took the time to look for tracks in the soft rot of the forest floor. His gloved fingers sought out the broken twigs and the girl’s hair entangled on the tree branches. Despite his slow pace, his physical condition was poor and he had to stop to rest. His forearm braced on a tree for support, his breath a ragged wheeze, he cursed.

Still aware, Rurik’s fingers coiled into fists; his nails ripped through the wood like a bear’s claw gouging through a tree. His dark lashes swept open and he stepped to the side of the table. He inhaled, breathing deep through his nose. Knowledge spread from his lungs and into his blood. An exhale and his hands relaxed at his side; the curved slivers fell unheeded to the floor.

He knew this man. With strict detachment, he curled his index finger. He heard the gasp of pain and surprise. He breathed in the air once more. Alarm tainted the blood flowing from the gash in the man’s cheek. Apprehension wasted on her father’s deception, because now it was too late.

Slashed open on the jagged edges of rock, blood from the child’s bare feet seeped into the soil. She needed help.

Of its’ own mind, Rurik’s blood didn’t drain into the earth, but waited underneath the surface for a cogent splatter on the forest floor. Just a single drop would forge the link between him and those desperate enough to seek his attention. Once the inevitable occurred - the spell triggered and the barriers erected - Rurik would acknowledge their choice.

He suffered the truth as he experienced her pain. In his chamber, a shiver went up his spine. His limbs felt numb; his breath puffed in front of him in an icy vapor. Panic dulled the sensation. Her strength of purpose invoked his enchantments.

Perhaps nine years of age, the girl approached the shallow yet quick-running stream. She plunged ahead, unmindful of the cold, splashing through the powerful current. She slipped on the algae covered rocks but stumbled across and sought a way through the dense bush.

Not all succeeded and found this enchanted trail. Those of pure intent could travel on the path, but no other. Spelled for easy travel, it provided a safe, and shortened, route to his stronghold. A route designed with meticulous care so even the air had the power to soothe. As was this child’s need, the temperature below the canopy was unseasonably warm; autumn’s palate of red, orange and gold was in visual conflict with his desire. Squirrels chattered before they dashed away and butterflies flitted through the rays of sunlight. His chosen route took her against the current of the stream, providing an opportunity for her to quench her thirst and to encounter the abundant wildlife as they did the same.

While he waited for her, Rurik focused his attention on her father.

Blood called to blood. The two types merged as one force of need. The ground, now bruised with pigments of crimson, squished under the man’s feet. Personal intent elicited individual consequence. Each step he took was an injection of venom, lethal in the urge to continue, toxic in that there was no way to escape the terror. After a dozen hesitant steps, the oxygen levels decreased and threatened to choke him. Translucent smoke burned his eyes and blurred his vision. Tears and sweat streaked down his cheeks.

Rurik smiled; his incisors scraped across his curled lip. “My friends, I am in need.”

This time, wolves heard him and aided his cause. Misunderstood and considered the incarnation of evil, these predators forced the man deeper into the forest. Their eerie howls close by ensured her father dared not stop, even though suffocation was an immediate threat.

Pursued, as he had his daughter, the man knew her fear. The air continued to thin and grow colder with each moment. His face froze and ice clogged his nose. The sounds of his flight echoed and rebounded back to him in such a fashion he could not trace from where they came. Thus, his subsequent movements fed the fire of his imagination. His mind paralyzed in panic, he witnessed trees limbs turn into insatiable flames. The supple waver of icy blueness matched his eyes and licked up his hopes while he remained mesmerized with the empty promise of warmth and succor.

Once the man collapsed in exhaustion, the only physical way for him to stop, Rurik’s presence would make his earlier fright seem a beautiful dream. He had ways to coax more from a body than the mind was prepared to admit existed.

This was one of the reasons few sought his company. Weakened and subjected to this personal form of interrogation, Rurik’s reputation preceded him. Stories, embellished over the generations, told of unbelievable atrocities against those he protected.

Hunger, long ignored, and never sated, rose in eagerness to serve. His smile widened at the delectable banquet the man would provide.

But first the girl. Children always came first. Despite the plunge into the icy water, her feet still bleed profusely.

Rurik pushed the telling blood aside, as graceful as a swimmer and just as powerful. Tree limbs parted before her and exposed the trail she would travel. A quick glance and his journal slammed together in an explosion of dust. He glided out of the chamber, the door opening before him with a concise thought.

He continued to glide up through the black recesses of the castle, past the dungeon and torture chambers, and into another dank corridor. Like the child, he skimmed over the stagnant puddles in the depths of his lair. With the confidence born of long use, he navigated through the darkness of the narrow and twisted halls that made up his private quarters. A deliberate flick of his wrist and the surface beneath his feet shuddered. Far off, the rumbling protest of stone echoed. He slipped through the narrow cleft and emerged from the concealed passage. The entrance closed behind him with a thud, shielding all which lay within.

Fiery torches strategically set into the rock flared to life only to be extinguished with the speed of his passage. Tendrils of smoke followed his ascent. The oppressive dampness lost its dominance; the stone beneath his boots was dry. He was above ground.

Sunshine streamed in through the cracks in the barred windows and warmed his cold flesh. The light invigorated him and filled him with the much-needed energy for the task ahead. It had been too long. His long fingers ran through his hair to remove the dust and cobwebs before hands brushed the accumulated dirt off his shoulders and arms. Wrinkles on his clothes disappeared with a sharp tug on each cuff. The double doors leading outside flew open and splintered as they hit stone. He passed through the courtyard and descended the stairs to the manicured lawns. He slowed and assumed the gait of a man, his footsteps unseen on the carpet of grass. One last stairway, and he reached the first level of defense.

Stepping-stones led to the sanctuary. Twelve-sided and constructed in symmetry, each pillar reached up in supplication to the heavens. At the zenith, support was weak and exposed to the elements. Humbled and worn from the wind, the surface of the stone arched as if in prayer, bowing in eternal submission. At this pinnacle, where earth met air, an unworldly force accepted the offer, flowing downward and circling inside.

With the patience of ages, this energy waited for the sacrifice. Once committed, this sacrificial act of mercy would unleash a force strong enough to slash through the delicate layer of flesh guarding Rurik’s core from depravity. This sacrifice would acknowledge the potential destruction, and absolution of not only himself, but also those he called his.

He paused at the entrance. His thumb caressed the cool support. Unbelievable in strength, the energy had grown unstable with the absence of use. Power, raw and merciless, pulsed though the stone. This close to the surface, one mistake, one emotion, would result in a struggle for mastery.

A glance towards the woods showed her determination and the speed at which she approached. He ducked inside and stopped precisely in the centre. Arms spread to the sky. He called forth his power.

Rapture greeted him. His flesh tingled. His heart pumped in anticipation. The smell of goodness filled his senses.

Goodness he would not touch.

His eyes closed on the converging clouds as he sought something deeper. Something darker. Something she tried to suppress.

Since she had sought him out, he didn’t have to search far.

Sensations flowed through his body. Images flooded his mind. As always during this sacrament, time lost all meaning. His vast powers diminished. By accepting his vulnerability and clasping onto her essence, he spiraled deeper. Past the physical traumas she had endured and into her psyche.

He absorbed the negative feelings into himself, feasting upon those he encountered. Emotions fought for dominance, but Rurik refused to isolate one over the other. None were more significant, and none were trivial. To acknowledge one was to deny something else. An impossibility, as each emotion bred another and kept her spirit strong. It was how she survived. She lived because of her passion for life. A youthful passion so intense he fell to his knees. He ached for her lost innocence. He hurt beyond the endurance of the physical body. Yet, he welcomed the pain. To be able to feel something – anything – was a moment to treasure.

He embraced the exquisite agony even if it was temporary. Indeed, it whet his appetite for more. Much more.

He received it. Fluxes of genuine horror, concern, and distress created alarming volatility in the flow of consciousness. It was impossible, but he detected her presence in the sanctuary.

Hands soothed his hair back over his fevered brow. A voice faded in and out. Starved for air, his chest expanded, but he couldn’t draw breath. His body trembled. Drowning in need, his sanity slipping away, he writhed in the ecstasy her presence created. The more he twisted, the more he struggled, the deeper he plunged into the abyss.

“Shhh.” Again, the pad of a thumb stroked across his forehead. “Please.” Her tone was desperate. “Lie still.”

Her words were meaningless, but Rurik heard the apprehension and understood. His thrashing scared her, and so he desisted. Time passed without mercy. The haze receded. He became aware of his position, of how she knelt beside him, her leg pressed tight against his shoulder.

He could hear her heartbeat; its rhythm throbbed in his head. He could feel the silkiness of her hair against his cheek as she leaned over him. Her gentle touch burned. Compassion surged off her in waves, asphyxiating him. The need for distance from her was so great he summoned the strength to roll an arm span away.

Relief was immediate and he could breathe, although he gasped for air. Eyes closed, hands braced out in front of him, he was aware of her inching closer, of her fingers stretching out to touch his shoulder. “Don’t! Get back!” What he meant to sound like a command was instead a plea.

She hesitated, withdrew her hand, but didn’t budge from where she sat.

Remarkable. He allowed himself a few moments to gather some strength, for the quivering to ease. A futile hope while linked with her in this sanctuary. He crawled farther away and was more in control. Drops of blood splattered on the ground but he ignored the implications; the sacrifice made, there was no help for it. He inched forward. Farther still, and his hand brushed against stone. His fingers dug in and broke under the strain; rock fragments crumbled to the ground. He pulled himself up, grunting with the effort to rise.

“Forgive my weakness in your time of need.” His voice was the barest of sounds.

In his mind, he saw her scrutiny of him. He felt her unease at the thick liquid running from his nose and dripping off his chin. His mastery depended on his abilities, yet her anxiety made him ill. He had to fight against his instincts and the voracious hunger at her permission to take what she innocently offered. The sweet, unselfish nature of a child was a palatable addiction. It begged him to consume what he needed. To feast on what he craved, the kindness shining through her worry.

Worry for him.

Damn it! Not now. An inhuman amount of blood gushed from his nose and soaked into his clothes. A wave of nausea left him bent over, the flow of crimson liquid a steady stream that saturated the ground. Never had he sacrificed this much or felt his strength drain away this fast. Never had he been this weak.

She had to leave. His condition scared her. Under his protection and connected in concern, his fate would be hers as well. Her emotions had substantial power and fed the whirling energy while his strength drained from abuse. Master turned puppet. Soon the energy would consume him – consume her and leave translucent skin stretched over bone. Mind and body sacrificed, her spirit shattered, she would forever live in a brittle shell. Her life would be a mockery of her true potential and birthright.

“Leave me.” His cheek against the cool stone, he acknowledged how pitiful his existence. An individual capable of slaughter without fear of consequence, now had to resort to begging a young child to save her from himself.

But she didn’t listen. She moved closer.

Rurik’s love for her swelled up inside him and damned them both. Sweat trickled down his hairline. His vision blurred. The ground felt spongy beneath his feet. He shook his head in a futile effort to clear it and then lifted his hand in a gesture for her to take it.

Her fingers threaded with his. His hand blistered from the warmth of the one clasped with his, increasing his appetite, increasing the pain. He swayed from the blissful agony of her acceptance. To him, it was an abhorrent marvel that blessed weakness felt so exquisite. He never wanted to let her go.

His vision tunneled, spinning, and continued the rapid downward spiral inside himself. Mangled fingers released their hold on the stone slab. He managed to slide one foot forward, then the other. The channel narrowed, squeezing.

Lightheaded, he wouldn’t be able to maintain this punishment much longer. Past the point of reason, he acted. Merged deeper with her, his grip tightened. Her cry came from a distance, muffled and distorted. Terrified.

Pressure and pain were not enough. He needed her. “Get out,” he whispered. “Please. Get out.” Tears tinged red slid down his cheeks.

He collapsed, bringing her down with him. Blood called to blood. His answered, seeping from his skin where she touched him and spreading out in thick pool around them. Sightless, his eyes closed, but it was too late. Even though she pulled away from him, he could feel her spirit. He could smell her courage. Taste her essence. Her gasp of fear let him know she had moved to the edge of the stone. Yet, he didn’t have to physically touch her. She belonged to him.

“No!” Knowledge the energy wouldn’t differentiate between them gave strength to his voice. “Run!” He screamed until he couldn’t scream any more. His throat raw and bleeding, he gagged on this vital fluid. Given a few precious seconds more, he surrendered to the love he felt for her, and summoned the violence present in the sanctuary against himself.

One word echoed in his mind as he went into convulsions. Run!

Her footfalls exploded into Rurik’s head, the vibration reverberated in his mind, fading the farther she ran. He couldn’t breathe. Blood gurgled in his throat. His body was desperate to expel what made him ill; tainted from her goodness he was powerless. He hacked and he choked, and from deep in his lungs it came - thick strings of blood and mucus, bubbling up and over his lips and gushing from his nose.

Awareness came in acute spasms of pain. He was physically impaired and weak from blood loss, yet the agony was secondary to his anxiety over the child. He clamped down tight on the segment of his brain capable of emotion, until nothing remained but emptiness. Relief was immediate and he could concentrate on his surroundings.

He sought the girl, but she was out of his field of vision. More disturbing was the silence. It ceased to speak in his ears. The air itself had deserted him and hung stagnant and oppressed. Vigilant against his desires. He was without means to locate her. His enchantments had lifted. The bond he had with her was severed and her fragile threads of sanity were woven into a more sinister subjugation.

He swallowed. And tasted smug satisfaction.

Weakened, Rurik braced himself with one arm. “You will not have her.” Calm surety gave credence to his words. The succulent flavour of disbelief and then anger titillated his senses.

Finally. Finally, he understood! He laughed, a chilling sound void of all humor. He wiped his chin as he struggled to his feet and faced what he had wrought. “You can not have her. I will not let you.”

He flung his arms wide, not to call upon his power, but to submit to it. “I am your creator, and I give myself to you.”

Screams from the past rose in his lacerated throat. The kaleidoscope of memories he suppressed shattered in a blinding display of insight. The wind shrieked in his ears. His long hair lashed his face and flayed his skin to the bone. Sweat burned the gaping wounds. He sank to his knees. He obeyed the wind; hands outstretched, he knelt with his forehead pressed against the ground.

He let wave upon wave of understanding wash over him. Anger and hate drowned him in peace. Happiness and love floated him to the surface. He endured without complaint. He succumbed to his weaknesses. He shrugged off his strengths. He accepted. Mind and body fragmented, he submitted to the mastery of the violence and dominated the brutal magic of the sanctuary.

Vulnerable and conquered, yet at the same time, protected and victorious, Rurik emerged. Regenerative in nature, the unique attributes in his blood were critical to his accelerated recovery, knitting bones together and creating cartilage. With a deep breath, he crawled back to the centre of his sanctuary, inch by excruciating inch. His broken fingers mended despite this new abuse. He swallowed, his throat healed as well. The gashes on his faced fused together, leaving his skin smooth and unscarred.

He allowed himself to rest, his cheek on the soil. The smell of the earth was a balm to his spirit, like a warm ray of sunshine on a winter’s day. His hands buried in the mud formed from his blood, he recovered his strength, the cells hard at work rejuvenating his abused muscles.

When no longer faint from lack of blood, he stood, straight and tall, shoulders back, his chin raised in triumph. The caress of the wind was a soft apology against his skin, a gesture that took the smell of illness from him and returned his enchantments to the child.

He smiled. The time had come.

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Replies:

[> [> Wow, Esther!!>>> -- Fel, 15:14:55 12/09/09 Wed

I remember this post from when you first put it up on the board. I am still liking the very strong Viking/Norse overtones that you have put in this story.

I don't know if I am up to a line by line critique of this one yet, Esther, but I will say that I find this very well written, and I am not confused by this at all. At least I don't think I am confused......

Anyway, I like it a lot!!

Fel

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[> [> [> Thanks Felicity! -- Esther, 12:02:05 12/10/09 Thu

And OMG it's great to have you back posting! Been lots of disappearances on this board and so thrilled you found it again. I've missed you. (((((Hugs)))))

One of those in the land of the missing is Bonnie, and I've assumed her role of email keeper. I don't do nearly as well at it as her, but if you're interested in adding your name to my list send me an email to myxtress at hotmail dot com and I'll letcha know what I need.

Okay to the reply *G*


>I remember this post from when you first put it up on
>the board. I am still liking the very strong
>Viking/Norse overtones that you have put in this
>story.

Cool! And I remember your comment as well. And yup, Rurik is still my Scandinavian Prince. *G*
>
>I don't know if I am up to a line by line critique of
>this one yet, Esther, but I will say that I find this
>very well written, and I am not confused by this at
>all. At least I don't think I am confused......

No line by line needed so no worries. *G* This is a result of those wonderful crits I received all those years ago and I didn't post it for such a purpose. As for the confusion, if you're not confused now you will be later. *G* Actually, I have a couple other little bits and pieces to post before my Christmas story, which will enhance understanding, I think, if the concept has been seen before. I've addressed it in the story itself, but I don't think a little extra info would hurt. ;-)
>
>Anyway, I like it a lot!!

Thanks!

Hugs

Esther

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[> [> Yep, I'm going to have to have a second read-through. *G* I'll do that, and gather my thoughts, and I'll be back! -- Page, 18:28:56 12/09/09 Wed

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[> [> [> LOL! Step this way Page m'dear >>> -- Esther, 12:11:36 12/10/09 Thu

No need to gather your thoughts and get back to me. Save it for the next one. ;-)

Seriously, I didn't expect a crit on this, and in all honesty, this is me sharing so that I have a better chance of my Christmas story making some sense. Or rather, an element in it having a greater impact because it's been seen before. I've left subtle hints in the XMas thing, but nothing is like having it shown as it happens. So, be prepared, I have a couple more little tidbits to share before I post my XMas story. And so, if your inclined, you can share your thoughts later. *G*

Thanks for taking the time to read, and reread. Mucho appreaciated.

Hugs

Esther

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[> [> [> [> Here's the thing >>>> -- Page, 16:17:02 12/11/09 Fri

I like Rurik. I'm already rooting for him to triumph, even though there's this voice whispering in my ear that when he does, it ain't gonna be cookies and milk for everyone. Maybe it was the conflict he so very vividly felt in the circle that roused my sympathies for him. Maybe it's because I can't resist a bad boy, and I already know this dude can be very, very bad. Maybe it's a combination of the two. But even with this brief introduction to him, I'm hooked.

Hugs,
Page

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