... And then he had met the master, the ancient evil, vampire, lord of darkness. He had known all that as soon as he had laid eyes on the creature. There had been the weakest challenge ever, he was disarmed and overpowered in seconds. And the master had known what Soma was there for and had found it highly convenient. Powerless, paralysed in the grip of the ancient being, tall and white blond like himself, looking like a young man with pale skin and red eyes; he had finally heard the plan.
“You see,” said the master confidentially, effortlessly twisting his arms up his back with one hand, the other on his throat, intimately whispering in his ear. “They seek to destroy me. They have tried for a thousand years and so far all they managed to do is seal me in this place from which I cannot easily escape.”
Soma would have been unable to say why but he had never been more frightened in his life. It cost quite a bit of effort not to tremble like a leaf.
“I won’t harm you, much,” said the master, calmly, as if he knew what Soma was thinking. “I am practically invincible as I am now. But if I wish to go out in the world, I’ll need a living body, a vessel. The body of one who has the right lineage, the right age, the right type of personality. Guess what, Soma Cruz? You are perfect.”
He pressed his lips just under Soma’s right ear, which made the boy shudder.
“I take it you were sent here as bait,” the master continued, thoughtfully. “Inside a mortal body, in the sunlit world, I am thought to be vulnerable and they will have a chance to finish their task. How risky. How callous. You would die of course, a pity but a necessary sacrifice.”
“If it will rid the world of you I will gladly die,” Soma said, determined not to show his fear.
“You are very brave,” said the master soothingly, as if to a small child. “I don’t think either of us needs to die at all.”
At that time he had probably not thought of the dark lord as his master but he could not remember how he had referred to him, even in his own thoughts.
Without another word the master had bitten his neck and drank some of his blood. A very little actually, no more than a mouthful. He then carefully licked the puncture wounds.
Soma felt his knees buckle.
“Easy, dearest,” purred the master. “Hellfire, did they know you are a virgin? My advantage and yet it would have been the easiest thing in the world to deal with. They must feel very confident that this is going to work.”
Soma felt a moment of stupid teenage mortification. The master laughed.
“You are delightful. Don’t worry, I won’t tell a living soul.”
Something in the way he said this called up an image of a million dead souls who would know and snigger. A sudden blur of movement and Soma was on his back on the floor, the master sitting on his chest, pinning his arms down with his knees. He was brandishing an evil looking silver knife, slender and sharp. He smiled his angelic smile which did not then and never would fool Soma. He cut open the turtleneck sweater Soma had been wearing, exposing his sternum.
“Ready?” he asked, still smiling. “Brace yourself, this may sting.”
He cut into the boy’s chest, carving an intricate design. He did not cut very deeply and it was perhaps ten centimetres wide only but it had hurt beyond belief. They were magical runes and they powered up the instant they were there. Glowing, burning, pulsating, overlaying but not masking the pain of the cut. Soma moaned. It was that or scream.
“There,” the master dropped the knife and bent over to kiss him on the lips. There was a nauseating moment and confusion. The master had gone. He stayed where he was for a while, gathering his thoughts. What the hell just happened? The carving on his chest hammered, it was bleeding profusely. Then he got up and in that movement he felt like he slipped out of himself, like he was pushed away. He was still inside his head but it was no longer his. He walked to a mirror without wanting to do so or in fact even doing it.
“Pretty,” said his lips and he smiled a horrifically familiar angelic smile. Soma lost consciousness.
Later on, there had been additional carvings. He had them on his thighs, his upper arms, the inside of his under arms and quite a large one on his back. He had actually pissed himself from pain when that one was done, which had amused the master no end. They had healed into raised white lines on his skin. They were extremely powerful seals, both binding him to his master and making him immortal and practically invulnerable, in the sunlit world at least.
He had little recollection of the subsequent events, drifting in and out of consciousness as he was. He could never recall very much of what happened when his body was taken over and while on one level he cursed himself for his cowardice, he also knew that his master did unspeakable things and he was actually glad not to remember them in full detail. Many of the things he had retained caused him to wake up screaming. Most of his recent acquaintance had been killed outright, albeit slowly and nastily but a couple had been captured and it was quite possible that they were still alive, tortured for all eternity. He had heard later that there had been pleading for him to assert himself.
“You see, it was a shoddy plan,” his master had explained when they were separate entities again, back in the everlasting night. He was scared out of wits and practically cowering, sitting against a stone wall to keep upright and fighting nausea. The master was standing, smug and satisfied, having shed so much blood and of course there was the renewed free access to the sunlit world. He had won pretty much without any effort on his part.
“I was to have used an amulet or some sort of temporary bond which they could get at. They never even considered the virgin bit. There’s sexism for you.”
“I don’t understand,” Soma had complained, hoarsely.
“The story of your life,” the master said, smiling and helped him to his feet.
“Have you never read vampire fiction? In which the vampire goes after the virgin girl and makes her his slave by drinking her blood? This works with virgins of either sex. I drank your blood and so you are mine.”
Soma apparently looked horrified.
“You would be mine anyway,” the master said consolingly. “Because of the vessel thing? But this is more complete, absolute. I am your master.”
“You are not!” screamed Soma, lunging at him, finding some fresh strength in the horror of it all. “You are not! I hate you!”
The master just caught him in his arms and held him still. Soma broke down, the last reserve of strength draining away from him and he cried bitter tears.