The twin streams of warm crimson trailed down Rose's neck, soft and slow as a lover's caress.
Her eyes had closed at some point..she knew not when. However, that mattered little now. With a delicate movement, she reached a shaky hand to the open wound. The action felt stiff, as though her hand was weighted with the same drowsiness that clouded her mind. Her fingers edged around the afflicted spot. She expected a sharp pain to jolt its way through her system, and yet she found it to be absent. No pain...not even a dull ache to surround the deep punctures. All that remained was a languid bliss, and she sighed as the touch of the torn skin and protruding flora left a strange longing deep within her.
The act caused her lips to part, allowing her breath to rush out into the night. She felt a coldness there, and paused. Her tongue tentatively flicked out over her bottom lip. The substance there was bitter: an unknown draught.
Despite the off-putting flavor, there was a power in it, full and unmistakable in its unholy strength.
Now her focus turned to her eyes. They felt leadened with the fettered of an unremembered sleep. It took time and some effort to push past this blind barrier, yet with effort she stirred and opened them to fully gaze out upon the scene. Darkness: pitch and absolute at first, but rapidly dwindling until the full of the area was laid bare to her scrutiny. It was a foreign chamber full of stone and heavy drapery. A number of cushions had been moved, and there were signs of objects carried back and forth through the thick dusts. These, she found, had been used to better prop her up on a raised platform dead center of the room, and a length of heavy velvet torn from similar curtains draped her in warmth. Despite this last precaution, a lingering cold persisted. Rose did not mind this. Even if she had, she was much too tired to attempt the struggle to draw the cover closer about her form. Slowly she allowed herself to sink back down against the pillows.
The ceiling high above her, she saw, was wreathed similarly in these tattered lengths of velvet. Strangely enough however, it appeared to almost be moving. Not a breeze to stir the dangling ends of the torn fabric...but a slow spinning that may or may not have been of her own imaginings. She watched this silently, attempting to make note of things through the haze of her semi-conscious state. The chamber was of a circular sort, with a ring of columns evenly dispersed into a ring along the outer edge. Past this was an even greater mass of darkness so dense as to allow no further shapes or hint of architectural constructions to be glimpsed from her position. Rose did not mind this for once. She did not feel the usual urging that would warrant a rise to further investigate. The want of sleep was already pressing down upon her again, and she welcomed it eagerly.
Thirst. A burning rising up within her throat. It had a name...it had a want...The same cold elixir that had graced her lips once before with its promise of power.
She wanted more.
No...the want was rapidly transcending past into the realm of need. She needed it, and the sheer force of that need caused her to curl up into the bundle of velvet in a feeble attempt to quell the increasingly painful yearning. Her head was spinning. There was noise...so much of it. A veritable plethora of sound, rhythmic in its cacophony and horrible in its familiarity. Had she closed her eyes? In the mess of whirling noise she did not know. And still...a shadow persisted in the corner of her vision. Silent and still. A sentinel in the gloom. Though her voice would not come, she weakly lifted her hand in pleading. The shadow moved closer, seeming the bring the surrounding darkness closer with every step. A pale hand materialized from it in response to her own reaching arm, displaying a deep gash that ran along the length of it. A slow and steady drip of a dark liquid marred the surface of the otherwise icy pallor, and the substance was at once unmistakable. The blood from the offered wrist sang out to her, dark and potent. Her mind reeled, instinct told her to turn away, and her very soul balked at the thought of what was intended. And still...she could not hear these internal conflicts...not past the swarm of all that was. Every ragged breath she took, every painful beating of her heart...even the slowing of blood through her veins...all was painfully amplified.
And still the wrist drew closer. An offer, and a command.
"Drink", it beckoned.
The blackened liquid was cold upon her tongue, yet seared its way down her throat with a powerful burning to spread a beautiful damnation deep into her quieting heart. Rose clasped at the cold wrist longingly, frailly thanking...worshiping the power and promise it gave. The quenching of an unbearable thirst.
And yet the burning grew. The more she took, the more she felt a new need. This potion, unholy as it was, gave much in means of a new-found strength. Yet the need was more pronounced. A necessity. ...Yet for what...?
Another pale hand extended to run along her cheek. A gesture of comfort? There was no time to question it. All too soon the shadow moved away, sinking back into the watchful darkness and taking the fount of bliss along with it. She whimpered, not wishing yet to succumb fully to the whispered chorus of unnatural and absolute slumber. Yet this would not be denied. Sleep never is...be it the natural portion of the living cycle or otherwise. The crimson at her throat had long since dried, though the roses still flourished. She grasped one of these as sleep overcame her, pricking her hand upon one of the jagged thorns that grew in profusion alongside of the sanguine blossoms, each contrasting darkly with each other in the tones of ebony and crimson.
And yet...from this there was no more outpouring of a similar hue. No blood came from the cut, even as her hand fell limply to rest at her side.
Never again would the blood of life flow from the maiden.