Authors: Bre Faucheux
“You think so little of our people?” she said accusingly.
“And you think otherwise of them, do you? With everything they took from you and your brother?”
“That was the French, not-,”
“Our people are no different, mistress,” he cut her off.
Madison turned from him and made her way up the beach. She didn’t want to discuss it anymore. Talking to Jayden at times felt as though she were climbing up a firm wall. There was only room to fall backward. He seemed a fatalist to what would happen to their new lands, and he was perfectly willing to forego it.
“Do as you like Jayden,” she answered back. “You left me once, I should not think much of it if you were to do so again.”
He didn’t hear her. His gaze was transfixed on the verge of the shore. Lining the edge of the precipice they had followed was a wooden shape. He rushed forth to get a closer look and Madison followed, already having forgotten the cut her words were meant to deliver.
She slowed herself and stopped just behind Jayden. He looked back to her with shock crossing his face. She stared forward with equal amazement. Before them lay one of their three lost ships, remaining almost completely unharmed.
As if he never heard her previous remark, he reached for her hand.
“Come,” he said, bringing her along with him. He leapt upward with her behind him to the ship’s edge. They landed upon it with ease and stepped down onto the deck. He let go of her and made way for the bow of the ship. He examined it briefly then ran for the opposite side. Madison went below decks to observe what was left. It wasn’t the ship she had travelled upon, but it was a twin of the same build. She went above decks and found Jayden standing atop one of the stacks. He studied everything from above and surveyed each and every detail. He jumped down and landed before her, the look of bewilderment still not having left his face.
“We can do this, Madison,” he said confidently.
“What is that?” she responded. “Steer an entire ship with four hands? If I recall the previous journey took several men per ship. Our numbers were significantly greater if I do recall properly.”
“If you are still a believer in any guide or God to our journey, you should accept this as good a sign as any,” he said.
“I want to stay here through next spring. We need not journey before then,” she said.
“We are of agreement, then?” he asked.
“No, I merely wish to wait.”
“You had best make your decision by then.”
“And there, you speak of leaving me yet again. Does my companionship as of late mean so little to you now as it did before?” she asked sharply.
“To my honor, Madison, your companionship these past weeks has meant more to me than any other in the passing years. You are the only other of our making and I wish you to accompany me, but I will not allow your decision to falter my own. England was my home, and I intend to reach its shores once again. This place is not my home and I will not attempt to make it as such.”
“You know as well as I do that there is nothing left for us there,” she said.
“Perhaps not for you, mistress, but I intend to make use of these new abilities we have gained. I can travel to new lands and enjoy every advantage this new life can offer me.”
“You have come far from thinking it a poison within you. And what of it should your thirst return?”
He looked away and back to her again, his veneer having returned. “Then I shall know precisely where to seek assistance,” he said.
“You make the assumption that they will still be here when you return. They are migratory people, Jayden. The healer indicated that they had been forced to remove themselves before. The Vam-pyr-ei-ak practically stalked all remaining company away.”
“I could easily track them, as could you. We have always managed to find our way back.”
“It’s not the same, Jayden,” she said nearly yelling now. “You have no proper way of knowing that you could find the healer again. And what if he were to die before your return?”
“You have not thought through our new abilities there, have you?”
“I am just as capable of knowing them as you are, sir. I am the one who taught you to listen from vast distances.” She was beginning to lose her patience with his constant need to remind her that he discovered most of their abilities prior to her.
“We heal instantly. That means our skin, our insides, they will replenish themselves constantly,” he said.
“What has that to do with the healer or your thirst, Jayden?”
“We won’t age, Madison. Our skin and materials rejuvenate with each breath we take. We shall never grow old as they will. The healer will eventually die and there will be no one to heal our thirst if it were to come back. And even if it does, then so be it. It is not reason enough for me to stay.”
“It appears as though nothing is,” she responded. “Has anything ever been of enough value for you to sacrifice your own sense of being?”
“I have invited you to journey with me, mistress. If you find you cannot accompany me, that is your choice. It shows nothing of my own sensibilities.”
“But you would again leave me here alone?”
“I never left you before. I sought to be certain you were safe from harm that day. Then I took care of myself. As I do now by asking you to come with me. If you should choose not to, it is of your own accord.” With that he leapt from the ships side down to beach below. He appeared to move in slow motion as he parted from her. Madison didn’t immediately trail after him. She looked from the ship’s edge out to the rough seas. She dreaded the prospect of crossing it one time. The thought of doing so again with only Jayden’s company, regardless of his recent fair treatment of her was enough to make her uneasy.
He stopped on the sands and stared back to her. She wasn’t certain if he awaited her in that moment for an answer or for the mere company of returning back to the native camp.
She stood silent, considering the choice before her. She had grown to admire this land and how the natives used it, kept it and appreciated it. And although she had affection for its beauty and the new landscapes to be explored with each passing day, she didn’t desire to be the only one of her kind. Especially among those who needed to cut themselves each day to ensure her survival. England had been her true home once, and perhaps it could be so again.
Jamison was no longer there to guide her or force her onto a new path of life. The choice was hers. And if they were truly immortal as Jayden suspected they may be, there was no future with the people of this land she now resided. They would die, and all who she knew there would go with them. Traveling, and perhaps not choosing to settle in one place would be crucial if no one were to notice their timeless features.
Her feet delicately touched the ground and she walked to where Jayden stood. He eyed her with an unrelenting glare. She found him to be either full of intensity or gratified in his domineering presence. Only after the healer had aided him had she ever seen his guard completely withdrawn from him. He lifted his hand to her and she took it. Never did his eyes leave her. She often thought this a small gesture of kindness; in his attempts to calm her through touch as the healer had communicated they were capable. Yet she gathered that the taking of his hand meant more now. If it was true, and he believed she was his only proper companion in this realm surrounding them, she was curious to know what it would mean to him once they returned home. Would he leave her then? Would he still consider her his only consort? Was she at all his consort, or simply a likeness of his own new form?
He didn’t let go of her until they were completely submerged in the water and forced to swim back to the precipice they had leapt from.
She would need Jayden once they returned to England, of that she was certain. A young woman traveling alone, regardless of her new abilities, would not be viewed as particularly fortunate or even trustworthy. It would cause suspicion where ever she were to travel.
Madison finally understood his desire for her to follow him. His company was the only companionship she would be able to find. He would never die. And after having lost so much, that alone made him invaluable to her.
Madison threw the thoughts of her thirst aside and she gathered what jars she could. They were filled with small helpings of blood. Jayden had decided that they would be better living from only blood while they travelled. Any food would not keep well and they didn’t have the resources to sustain it as they had before. They had both taken the blood provided to them by the healer and the wife and took it to their newly found ship. They would only accept a little at a time being that their young provider was growing more and more unwilling to cut himself for their benefit. Madison suspected that others had begun to contribute as well, which was not a burden she wished upon them. She had seen fit to calm the young man’s nerves on several occasions and gently touched his arm as she accepted what little he could give. But after only a few attempts at this he had become wise of it. She dared not ask him for more.
Every so often, Jayden took his journeys through the woods alone and came back with filled jugs. She imagined that he had taken from what was left of the Vam-pyr-ei-ak people once more. She didn’t object. Jayden seemed to grow more and more uneasy of the task of taking blood, yet they both seemed resigned to the task being necessary. She only hoped he didn’t aim to kill as he had before. With his thirst tampered, there was no reason for it. He could subdue them without great effort.
“Do you think that we would be better served if we attempted to swim back,” she asked Jayden one evening as they took a few pieces of a meat burning over the fire. “The ship must have travelled considerably from here and we managed to reach it within only a few moments. We are growing stronger each day.”
“You said yourself that we would be better served not to test our capabilities at first, mistress,” said Jayden. “We should take the ship as far as possible, and if need be, we can swim for the remainder of the journey. Neither of us is certain of wherest we travel. Thus having the ship will come as an advantage.”
Madison nodded in agreement.
“I believe we can make our stead home within a fortnight, if you are agreeable,” he said.
“Only a fortnight? It took us months to arrive here,” she objected.
“Like you said, we will drink what blood we have. When we run out, we will more than likely have to exercise our abilities to reach shore.”
She looked to the healer and his wife. The healer returned her gaze curiously. She was certain that he knew of their intent to leave. He made no protest. She assumed his willingness to see them depart was a sign that they wouldn’t need further assistance to curb their savage cravings.
The healer took his eyes away from her and picked at the fire in front of him with a long stick. He then put out the fire and retired early alongside his wife, leaving Jayden and Madison among the few who remained out after dark to watch over their grounds.
“How do you intend to move the ship from shore?” she asked.
“I already have. It is well anchored and awaits us not far from the beach.”
“You have repaired its damages?”
“There were not many. It faired the seas quite well.”
“I could have sworn I saw each ship destroyed as it was carried away by the sea that day,” she said.
“As did I, but it was dark. There was no conceivable way of knowing for certain.”
“Do you not think it odd, Jayden? That we should find it by the means we did? I know both our faiths have been tested to the greatest of depths, but this… new form we are both under, by whatever we chose to call it,” she hesitated for a moment. “It has ensured our survival in every way. Perhaps it will continue to do so,” she said.
“Of course it shall. Why should it not?”
“Think of it all, Jayden. We contracted speed and agility. We can calm any such victim to take our need for blood as we once desired water by simply touching them, we can influence emotions and read those of others. Hearing, strength, hardly a need for food, we heal with little to no effort or time. And although our emotions are as potent as they ever were, we are no longer crippled by our grievances.”
His attention pulled away from the remnants of the steaming fire before them. They had not tallied their new abilities until then.
“The Vam-pyr-ei-ak meant for us to devour one another, to consume everything we knew and loved,” she said. “They wanted us all dead. And in so doing they created something. They created people who are capable of surviving nearly anything. We know not of what could potentially harm us.”
“What point do you attempt to make, mistress?” said Jayden.
“That perhaps they created the very species they feared most. They wanted to defer others from coming to these lands. In so doing they created a people who could not be stopped from making way here.”
“It is only the two of us. We are all that remains. I doubt we could properly lead the entirety of the white men over these lands. They do a proper job of trampling upon one another. They do not need our kind to guide them.”
Madison leaned back, her thoughts churning with the convention of which they were created.