The Smell of Burning Flesh

Burning_CityFrom the distance I could see and hear the screams.  My eyes could not hide the horror that I was witnessing and how it felt to have once again used the portal to come to this world only to be greeted with such a scene.

Sosaria.  What have they done to you?

As my husband steadied himself next to me, he knew we would have to find those responsible and bring them to swift, bloody justice. We could not use the portal again so soon, and it was engulfed in flames at that very moment. We knew we would have to risk the use of our talents to help save the people out of that city.  He looked to me.

“You ready?”

I nodded.

The Flight Gift would be hard to use as the flames came close to our touch, but we would have to focus.  As I flew by,  feeling the heat, I saw a man bleeding out trying to run away from the flames that seem to chase him.  I swooped down and grabbed him up, fleeing the flames below to an area across the bridge. Safe.  I used the dirt to put him out; he was breathing.  To my utter shock, the man seemed to be healing… much like we heal.  I had no time to digest that.  Marius had gathered two people and set them down next to me.  The one lady had fangs extended, she was a vampire. Marius looked to me, I to him.

“What the fuck?”

And we both left back to the city, to rescue more.  And we did, but many others perished.

We returned and as they were healing, coming to, the villagers looked to us in fear.  One lady in a trembling voice asked, “Are you with them?”  Marius pressed, “No, them who?” She sat up steadying herself on her bottom, “The Liches… they did this to us.”  Marius looked to me and in our own unique way we communicated. “Liches? But these people are kindred, how can it be liches?”  One man, who others referred to as Dithren answered, much to our shock, “Those heathens had all sorts of kind! Why are you here? Why save us? To torture us more?”  I answered, “We are not here to hurt you, we saved you because you have a right to your lives.”  He fired back, “Like this?!?  I would rather die than be one of them!”  Pandora looked at him, “I am one of you, but I am different. I do not hurt… I heal… I help.  You can do the same, be the same.  Its a choice! We are not bound by what we are, we are bound by who we are! Chose to be different.”  Dithren was now standing up and Marius moved in between him and I.  “What exactly are we, then?”  Marius answered.  “People.”  The crowd began to whisper among themselves and it was clear they had had very little time to process everything.  Who had done this? Why? And more importantly where were they now?

Marius and I told them to stay there, that they would find a place to hunker down for the night letting the flames of the city extinguish.   We found a cave, it should suffice to keep these people from burning from the sun’s rays.  Questions were still being shot at us, left and right.  Who were we if not with the others? How did we get here? Who do we submit to?  I answered them best as I could.

“We are the Romanus family. Marius here is my husband, I am Pandora.”

“We came here through a portal that uses a very special type of magic; we are from the lands of Lord British’s birth.”

“We submit to no one.”

I explained to them what afflictions they had; vampirism.  I explained that Marius and I also had the same affliction.  That they would live forever, never dying a natural death.  That they were — deathly allergic — to the sun and would be that way for many many centuries until age starts to chip away at that allergy.  That they must never tell anyone what they are or what we are.  They asked us why. “Because many in this land believe us to be evil,” Marius answered.  One of the younger ladies asked, “Why?” Marius continued, “Because our affliction makes us dependent on blood for nourishment. And because mortals’ life force is the blood they carry, we’re seen to immediately threaten that status quo.”  Another asked, “Do we have to feed on blood?” I smiled, “Yes, you do. But it does not have to be human blood, you can survive on the blood of animals or creatures.” Dithren asked, “Is that the absolute hunger I feel?”  The others nodded in agreement.  Marius continued to engage them and teach them.  He taught them that they would have to be strong, they would have to fight the desire to feed, and that to do that they would have to feed often.  He told them that he would teach them to hunt for the evildoer, the corrupt, and to use that to sustain themselves so that they do not turn against the humans.  Marius then promised to rebuild Umbra; that his whole family would come here, settle it and rebuild it.

We hunkered down with them in the cave, making sure they were safe.  We did not sleep, the sleep did not call to us like it did to them.  We walked outside and watched the city continue to burn.  We had done all we could do.  You can smell the flesh in the burning ashes the wind carried our way.  What a dismal welcome to our return to Sosaria.