Continuation of my novel, Savior...
"In 1082, Karigan Al'Thanial established the Council of Elders for those of us who were particularly noteworthy or capable of representing our subordinates. A modern analogy would be the Senate. It started with only vampyres, but soon spread to include the other major utali. Utali is the old-world name for unnatural. It was what we were called, and it stuck. By 1100, we had one representative from every European and Asian country for every utali race. The Council was effective in establishing good relationships among the various utali. Finally they decided we would integrate ourselves with the human population, coming out of a banishment that had been in place for several centuries. For those of us who required flesh or blood to survive, we swore that we would limit our prey to the non-sentient creatures of our land, never again hunting humans for food. Adjustments had to be made, since human blood and meat provided our essential nutrients, but we managed. Over the next century, the humans forgot that utali ever existed. Our goals seemed to have been met. We lived in peace for several centuries.
"And then the Bubonic Plague swept throughout Europe, ravishing the countryside and killing thousands and thousands of humans. But the utali, who thrived on the animal population, was hit even worse by the direct consumption of infected rats. Almost overnight, the vampyre and werewolf population was cut in half. By the end of the Middle Ages, our numbers were reduced to five hundred across the entire eastern hemisphere. We were in very real danger of becoming extinct. Many of our females who had survived the Plague had been left infertile. Our future was looking grim. The following centuries were a true trial to stand by the oaths we had sworn concerning humans, but we managed. Our number fluctuated, but it finally appeared that we were going to survive.
"In 1923, things went bad. A small faction of vampyres broke away from the Council and the oaths. They began feeding on humans again and as a result gained a significant advantage over those of us who stuck by our vows. Gradually other utali went over, mainly the werewolves and shapeshifters. The Council tried to reason with their leader, but to no avail. By some stroke of fortune, the majority of the dark utali took up residence in Italy, where we were able to confine them. Of course, as technology developed so rapidly in the following centuries, they were able to communicate with other utali outside Italy, converting them to their evil ways. The vampyres, the oldest and most respected of the utali, faced the greatest temptation, for they never truly recovered from the destruction of the Black Death. Every year that passed, fewer and fewer remained loyal to the oaths.
"And then 1983 rolled around, and something very important happened. A rogue vampyre married a human woman, and they successfully conceived a child. When the child was born, an uproar was made all around the utali world. If that child was also a vampyre, then all of our survival problems would be solved."
Duncan stopped and looked down at me.
"This, of course, is where you come in."
"I'm that child," I said dryly. "So let me see if I can fill in the blanks. Just like the stories, I have to be bitten to activate any latent vampyrical capabilities."
"Close enough," he replied. "For a transition to take place, you have to exchange blood, which did not happen between you and Victor. You will need several more transactions before we see if it works."
I frowned, not liking the sound of his words.
( "You mean I have to drink some of Victor's blood?"
"But why Victor? Why can't you and I do it right now?"
He smiled wryly, but I could see that my question had unhinged him.
"Victor initiated the process. There is a strong bond between you now. If you were to drink my blood, it would kill you, and vice versa. Next time you won't be interrupted by watchers, and the process will be much smoother."
"The next time?" I echoed. "And how many times will we have to do this?"
"We decided that three would sufficient. That way it won't be too much for you after last night's episode."
"And what are the 'watchers'?"
He paused, bringing his hand up to his face. Rubbing the golden stubble on his cheeks, he thought about my question for a moment before answering.
"Watchers are spirits of dead vampyres, roused by either strong unhinged emotion or a large group feeding," he said, then paused a moment before continuing. "There are certain precautions that can keep them from showing up."
"What will they do?" I asked, chilled by the memory of those ghostly hands reaching for me. Duncan shifted in his chair, and I could tell by the set of his jaw that he did not want to answer my question.
"If uninhibited, they will kill you."
I closed my eyes, settling back into my pillow, the familiar smell of my shampoo comforting. It was all so unbelievable, yet the evidence had been right there before my eyes. Reaching up to touch my neck, I found heavy gauze protecting the puncture wounds. A moment later, Duncan's warm hand gently wrapped around my wrist, pushing my arm back onto the bed.
"Don't touch it," he admonished. "It'll heal soon."
"So," I said, keeping my eyes closed, "when exactly were you planning on telling me all of this?"
"January first," he replied without missing a beat. "In the meantime, I was supposed to be preparing you for the truth."
"By becoming your friend, first of all," he answered steadily. At his even tone, my eyes snapped open.
"My friend," I repeated. "So that's why you insisted that I leave my father?"
His countenance grew darker at the mention of Papa. I had hit a nerve.
"Partially. There are other things you do not know, Ana, things that will be explained as the time comes."
"What sort of things, Duncan?" I demanded, purposefully making my voice angry. "Don't you think you've kept enough secrets from me?"
Raising an eyebrow, he crossed his arms over his chest.
"It's not your decision," he replied archly. "The Council decides."
Feeling deflated, I closed my eyes again, trying not to think about everything he had told me. We remained silent for several minutes, until I was almost certain that he had left without telling me. Just as I was about to look, he spoke softly.
"Some utali are brought over for a specific purpose, kept in stasis until their time comes. When you were born, I awoke."
"Why are you here?" I asked, opening my eyes. Duncan stared at me long and hard before answering.
"I am your warder. I've been watching over you since the day you were born. It's my job to keep you safe and prepare you for whatever the Council has in store."
"How is that possible? I didn't meet you until I was fifteen," I protested, not arguing against the truth, but arguing against the inevitability of it. Duncan smiled flatly.
"The Council chose to reveal me when you were fifteen. As you get older, my job gets harder."
"Why?" I automatically asked, then paused, realizing that I most likely did not want to know the answer to my question.
"Because your birth and transformation alone are not enough to secure the future of my people. You have to give birth to an utali."
"And I thought the first news was bad," I said, feeling completely deflated. "It seems a little odd, with all that you've told me so far, that this 'Council' would be willing to wait for me to get married and have my first child to see if...things...worked."
Duncan laughed, short and harsh, eyes glinting silver in the dim lighting.
“They aren’t going to wait, Ana. That’s why my job gets harder as you get older. Your presence was kept secret for many years, but recently information has been leaked to the general public. Now that they know about you, people will be beating down the Council’s doors to see if you’re the savior.”
“And what is the Council going to do about it?” I asked in a barely audible whisper.
“Find you a husband as soon as possible.”