Celeste dreamt of the field again. Her white gown swirled around her. Blinking, she was a child again, laughing and grabbing at the flowers that fluttered around her. Looking back for her, mother?
Her eyes snapped open. She was in a bed, in a room with someone sitting next to her; the boy that had saved her. He was asleep, his head bowed. She saw that she was attached to machines that buzzed and whirred. But she felt good. Strong. She propped herself up carefully as not to awaken the boy. His name was Asher, he had told her in the field. Tasha was his witch friend, the one with fire inside her. Celeste tried to recall anything from before they saved her, snippets of bad feelings came at her causing her head to swim. Phantom pains panged her entire body, her scars seemed to throb. Was that blood she saw?
“No!” she cried out, rousing Asher.
“ You’re safe, you’re safe,” he repeated drowsily. Marcus the resident doctor burst into the room.
“ Is everything alright?” he asked, his dark face worried. He went to her other side and took her wrist, counting her pulse. “ How do you feel?” he asked gently.
“ Alright,” she said quietly, still unsure.
“ I bandaged your most recent feeding locations, but I’m afraid you will always have these,” he indicated the numerous scars on her arms. She nodded, tears at her eyes again.
“ Usara says that you are quite old, although you don’t look it.” Marcus checked her I.V drip and the machine that beeped. “ I suspect the vampires fed you their blood to keep you alive all these years, but not enough to change you.” He wrote some notes on a clipboard and went to the doorway. “ I am very sorry,”. As he turned to leave, Celeste noticed marks that mirrored her own on his neck.
“ Do you want to try and get up?” Asher asked, standing himself. “ Everyone wants to meet you. You’ve been asleep for two days.”
Celeste smiled. Sleep, without the pain. “ I can’t remember the last time,” she said, not realizing she had done so aloud. Asher, misunderstanding, held out his hand.
She took it cautiously. He pulled the blanket back and helped her swing her legs over the side of the bed. They had clothed her in a light cotton gown, one that covered plenty more than her previous garment. Asher put his arm around her shoulder as she placed her feet on the floor and stood. Thankfully he did as Celeste nearly collapsed.
“ Whoa!” exclaimed Asher sitting her back on the bed. He looked up, sensing that someone watched them. Tasha stood with her arms crossed taking in the image of Asher sitting next to Celeste with his arm around her.
Asher stood abruptly and cleared his throat. “ I guess it was too soon,” he said quietly. “ I’ll talk to you later,” he told Celeste as he walked out of the room, pausing for only a moment as he passed Tasha.
Celeste smiled at Tasha. “Thank you, for helping me,” she said as she sat back on the bed and covered her feet.
“What do you remember about, anything?” Tasha asked, relaxing a bit, as she went to sit next to Celeste.
Celeste closed her eyes and Tasha thought she had fallen asleep when she spoke. “I don’t remember where I came from, but I have dreams of being a child. They would keep me weak so I wouldn’t fight them. I have no idea how much time has passed. I have memories of being dressed in beautiful gowns while they fed on me, but it feels like a lifetime has passed since that time.” She opened her eyes and looked at Tasha. “ You and your friends don’t think I’m human, but I have no idea what I am. It’s been so long since I was allowed to be awake. I don’t even recognize my body.” She lifted her arms and showed Tasha the markings on her arms. “ What do they mean?”
Tasha took her arm, wincing when the girls power pinched her skin. Tasha examined the marks, seeing that they were tiny symbols tattooed into her skin. They wound up her arms and legs and across her torso in strips. The symbols came together to make up a spell, one placed by someone very powerful.
“ They are to bind you to your master so that no other vampire can feed from you unless given permission. It will never be released until he is dead, but I can make it so he can’t sense you nearby.” Closing her eyes Tasha reached into herself and pulled out her power, sending it across to Celeste, chipping away at the spell until it lost the part of it that made it a honing beacon. Releasing Celeste’s hand, Tasha sat back and wiped the sweat from her brow.
“ I’m sorry that I tired you,” Celeste said quietly, quite tired herself.
Tasha smiled, “ It’s my job to keep you safe.”
Fay popped her head in the room, startling both girls.
“ Smells like magic in here,” she chirped strolling over to sit cross legged at the bottom of Celeste’s bed.
“Celeste, this is my sister Fay,” Tasha stated, rolling her eyes at her sister’s boldness.
“ Isn’t it weird that Usara doesn’t even know what she is?” Fay said pulling a brush out of the bag she had brought with her. “ May I? She asked, holding it up.
“ Sure,” Celeste barely had the word out before Fay had begun to brush the girls hair.
“ Your hair is awesome by the way, neat colour. The textures pretty cool too. Hey, don’t certain shape shifters have hair like this?”
Tasha shrugged, “ I guess we could ask Orin about it.”
That day had Celeste resting and meeting various visitors. Daria and Kassina came in to introduce themselves. Orin and Dryden paid their respects, Orin unable to provide them with anymore clues either.
“ I suppose she could be older than I am or from a tribe of outliers,” he said when questioned.
The next morning, Fay and Tasha decided that Celeste should walk around and see where they lived.
“ You need to get up and stretch your legs. See what freedom feels like,” Tasha said when Celeste hesitated at their suggestion.
“ Alright,” she finally agreed. With the two twins on either side, Celeste took her first few steps without fail.
“ It’s like riding a bike,” Fay chirped as she released Celeste and watched her walk on her own.
Celeste stopped walking and smiled. “ I want to feel the earth beneath my feet.”