Hope. They had always told me, "Lose your hope, Eoin, and your tears will cease."
For years, I believed them. For years, the tears did stop. Suppressing all feeling of hope and all thoughts of escape, I had faded into nothingness to make the life I lived bearable. I became the shallow husk that was required to perform my duties by removing all the life that was left within me.
If you had told me, the me that I had been, that it would all change after just one evening, I would've laughed a laugh so cynical that you could visibly see it seeping passed my lips. I would've offered you a bitter kiss so deep that you would taste it for years.
Abandoned at birth and forced into slavery, enduring the beatings of my masters and watching my friends murdered for disobeying them, one might understand my skepticism. Being told as a child that I was blessed with such beauty that I was to become a whore and sell my love, my body, and skills to those who had everything that I did not would understandably justify my disbelief.
And yet you would have been right all along.
Though it seems that an eternity has passed, it was not very long ago that my life changed for the better. It was just one evening, that began like all the rest, that began the journey I am about to share. You may not wish to hear the story of a whore, but you may want to hear the story of the reckoning entity that whore became.
My name is Eoin Delaine, and this is where I will begin my story.
It had been warm night, with my quarters dim and the air filled with sweet perfumes as usual. Wrapped comfortably around my linens, I had been resting after a long evening of entertaining one of my repeat clients. This particular client tended to take his aggressions out on me, often leaving me battered, swollen and sore for days after his visits. Although the initial beatings were never pleasant, I did enjoy the two or three evenings I was granted to recover before accepting a new client to my chambers.
I was abruptly roused, being shaken at the shoulders until my gray eyes peeled open to view who it was that so desired my attention. It was the Mistress, an ugly, matured woman that served as the hostess to the brothel and was wife to the owner of my establishment. It was odd that she would jar me awake in such a way and I grew attentive when I watched as she began to overlook and scrutinize my face. Holding me at the chin between her fat fingers, she turned my head from side to side as if to survey my wounds. I obeyed, allowing her to maneuver my body at will. What also helped me deem this occasion odd was the way she hurriedly ripped the sheets right off my nude form to glance over the length of my limbs, parting my legs to examine my genitals. Her movements were frantic and professional, looking over what was her property without shame.
"Yes, yes, you will do," came her quick utterance and I felt my heart drop. I had been eagerly looking forward to a few nights without entertaining someone. Everyone enjoyed a vacation from work.
"Mistre-" I had begun, though I can quite remember whether I was going to inform her I wasn't in good shape or to ask who my next client was. It didn't matter, nonetheless.
"Shut up!" she hissed at me then, moving to one of my armoires to pull a sheer drapery from it. It was tossed to me in a sharp motion then. "Put this on and get outside!"
Without hesitation, I did as I was told. After years of conditioning, this was the life I lived and didn't question what was to happen. My muscles were sore and my portions of my body burned, but I knew it didn't matter. Money spoke. Whores didn't. Rising from my bed, I grabbed the satin material and draped it over my broad shoulders as the Mistress began to push at my back, hurrying me from my room and out into the lounge.
It was a large lobby in the shape of a semi-circle, lined with decorative tapestries and expensive furniture. This was where we normally, say, frolicked as new clients went about examining us as they made their decision as to which one of us was to be their choice of the night.
Strangely enough, I saw no stranger, nor a familiar client standing within. There was merely a line of us weary workers, being directed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder by the Mistress. Her bizarre behavior didn't seem to go unnoticed to them, as we all sent each other questioning glances. In the row was our most beautiful and talented male and female entertainers, and as rivals, we knew something important must have been occurring if we specifically had all been gathered. It just had never been carried out in such a rushed, unprofessional manner before.
Before we could even send a sleepy whisper to one another the door to our lounge was suddenly thrown open with great force, causing it to rock at the hinges. Our owner, a drakul by the name of Klaus, dashed speedily to the center of the lounge, coming to a stop before us. If one did not know Klaus, one would say he was an attractive man, worthy of diamonds and gold. Of course he would be. The drakul were selective about who was turned, and it was never the ugly that were chosen for their gifts. We knew Klaus, however, and he happened to be one of the most repulsive, sadistic beings to ever set foot on this world. An evil master hated by his slaves may seem cliché, but there was always some truth to stereotypes. Clad in one of his finely tailored suits, his brunette hair neatly combed to one side, a cigar hung from the side of his mouth as he glared at us from those ghostly, silver irises. His hands rested casually upon his narrow waist as he too began to scrutinize his merchandise.
"I wait decades for a moment like this and this," he growled, "
this is best I've got."
"The very best," said the Mistress as she came bustling out of another room, adding one last worker to the line before moving to stand alongside her husband. "They will do, sweetie, you'll see," she attempted to reassure him.
"No!" he raged angrily, bringing a leg up to kick one of the leather chairs. It was sent flying until it collided with a wall, splintering into pieces and becoming almost unrecognizable. None of us flinched, as we were used to such actions. The Mistress jumped slightly, shuffling about him in a bit of anxious fear as she tried to keep control of the situation.
"They are beautiful, my love. He will find one that pleases him," came her comforting tone.
"He is surrounded by true beauty in the Undercity. These ones
These ones look like they belong on a farm," were his hisses as his eyes returned to us, beginning to pace back and forth along the length of our line. We generally kept our gazes lowered to the floor so Klaus didn't mistake our eye contact as a threat. He once decapitated one of his workers with his own hands for that very reason.
"Then we shall choose one to send to him, yes? We will pick our very best," was the Mistress's suggestion. Her tone seemed a bit more shaky than usual, obviously feeling whatever pressure Klaus had been.
I became lost in my thoughts, left to wonder how important this client was and why such a precedent had been placed. The comments about my looks rolled off my skin like beads of sweat. Insults of that nature were the first go-to comment at any given moment. Still drifting in thought, there was a long moment of silence before I realized that Klaus's boots had come to settle in the area before me.
"Eoin," called he, making my name sound as disgusting as he was. Being called upon, I could freely raise my eyes to meet his, as it would be considered rude to not make eye contact then. We stared at each other for a good amount of time before his hands moved to pull the material away from me and forcing it to the floor. Nude, he continued to inspection of my form. "He's damaged. He's damaged!"
"Where?" cried the Mistress, swooping in to inspect me as well. I glanced downward to see a patch of purple skin on the side of my abdomen. That was where my previous client had given me a swift punch to the belly. "I-It can be covered! Make-up!" was her solution.
"Leave it to me to pick whores that bruise easily," was Klaus's ramble of a comment, his cigar still smoking and hazing the air. "You're good with your mouth. He may not even bother with the rest of you, anyway."
I merely stared lifelessly with my expression hopeless and eyes dull. There was no reason to respond, or to question the games they played, or to even defend myself. That was simply the way things were.
Klaus had been the one to train me in the ways of prostitution. He had taken away my innocence at the dawn of my puberty in preparation for the role I was to become, taking me in every possible way, in all possible scenarios. He had kept me as his personal pet for years, much to the dismay of the Mistress, and had grown some sort of uncharacteristic, preferential attachment to me. The others told me there were rumors Klaus was enamored, or worse, besotted with me, though the reason remained unknown. They wondered if that my beauty was too great for even Klaus to bear, or that my services were supreme to all others he had bedded, but their questions and confusion were only met with my own. I could offer no answers or aid in their speculations. I only did as I was told.
"Let us get him to the powder room. We don't want to keep him waiting much longer," came the Mistress's suggestion. Her tone seemed heavy, as if she had long known I was to be Klaus's choice for such an occasion. There had always been an unspoken animosity between us after Klaus's obsession became apparent. She had already lifted her skirts, making her move towards me with aggressive steps but was abruptly halted as my drakul owner brought his cold palm to rest upon my cheek. As our eyes connected, I could see that strange encumbrance overcome him as he looked upon me.
"Remember what I've taught you," he said in a motivational tone, adjusting the cigar that he chewed between his aligned teeth. "Do this right and your clients from this night forward will be of your choosing."
Upon hearing this, I could feel myself perk up in my astonishment.
"You would let me pick my clients?" I questioned softly in my disbelief. I was being offered a gift just shy of freedom. To someone not in the trade, this may have seemed like an unsettling prize, but to a whore it was the greatest reward. It meant no more beatings, no more uncomfortable roleplays or sickening, repulsive acts. If one had to have sex on a nightly basis with multiple partners for money, at least it would be with sensible, vanilla clients. No more pain or disgust.
"You heard me, boy," he hissed then, growing impatient when he knew I had understood yet stood around anyway. I'm guessing that if I hadn't needed impeccable flesh for this important client, he would have struck me then. Restraint was not something Klaus was known for and I quickly began to shuffle for the powder room with the Mistress hurriedly in tow. Scurrying past the row of workers, I received scowls, glares of hatred and sorrow. The boon I was about to work for was something they all dreamed of and I, Klaus's "favorite", was being given the chance.
The powder room was an area where we were cleansed and pampered in preparation for our clients. It was a long hall, filled with showers, vanity mirrors complete with stools, and all the products one needed to freshen up and meet Klaus's expectation of beauty. Lanterns shielded by some form of sheer material offered the room medium lighting as stars peered down from the windowed ceiling, offering ventilation for the smoke and steam. Once the Mistress and I arrived at our destination, we began to go about our nightly ritual.
It wasn't long before I was prepped, primed and pushed hurriedly towards one of the brothel's larger guest rooms. It was place furnished with our best, and reserved for our richest clientele. I had seen it a few times when Klaus had called on me in slow evenings. It was not a place I had fond memories of. Not until fateful night, it seemed.
With the Mistress adjusting my sleeve, I was well aware of how I was dressed. Like a gentleman of fortune I was clad in a fitted suit, tailored to my frame. There was a hint of my provocative nature from the lack of coat and tie, instead leaving me only in a starched white shirt under a forest green vest with shiny, gold buttoned. My trousers were a matching color, tucked deeply into a pair of dark, brown leather boots that had no scuffs. It was clear I was to play someone of a high economic class towards this client, and as I thought of Klaus's promise of reward, I corrected my posture with my chin upright and my shoulders back.
"Now, listen close, Eoin," the Mistress whispered to me as I rehearsed my demeanor. "He is from the Undercity, you here? That's where the money is."
"And the drakul," I muttered bitterly, though I wasn't sure why. Perhaps it was my disdain for Klaus that made me dislike them so.
"Don't start with that smart mouth. You will cater to this one as if your life depended on it, as it just might if you make him angry," she whispered sharply to me, shaking my frame as her hands busily moved to my waist to shake my shirt's ends deeper beneath my vest. "He is surrounded by those most beautiful and those most experienced. You will have to use all your best techniques to impress him. You hear me?"
"Yes, Mistress," I had replied obediently as she finished up my preparations, taking a step back to survey the finished product. She appeared pleased as she perpetually rushed me, laying her hands upon my shoulders and shoving me towards the doors. I was quickly handed a flat, silver platter, covered in our finest china and metal kettle. When no steam came from its neck, I knew it wasn't filled with water, but with blood.
"Go," she hissed at me, bunching up her skirts and shuffling away to create a bit of distance between us.
Before entering, I remember inhaling so deeply I could feel my lungs expand. It was a big night for me, knowing my life would change from that night forth. If only I had known so much, maybe I wouldn't have been so eager. Nevertheless, my hand came to rest on the brass doorknob as I made my way inside.
The guest room was familiar, with its brocade carpets and sheer draperies that lined the wooden posts of the master bed. What wasn't familiar was the figure that had stood deathly still in the room, positioned near an opened window. I could see only his long back, his pale hands tucked neatly behind him. His long coat was lined in what seemed like gold thread, his cuffs neatly puffed and his wavy hair ending just between his shoulder blades. I could not yet see his face as I shut closed the door behind me and moved to lay the platter upon the small table beneath the chandelier. It seemed to have been recently lit, but the candles smoked as if they had been blown out recently. I could still pick up the scent of their smell lingering in the air.
Before I had a chance to make my opening line, he was already speaking.
"You wonder about the candles," came his mystique voice, gentle with a vague sense of danger. Most drakul held this tone. "They hurt my eyes."
"Then one would not blame you for extinguishing them," was my response, quickly wanting to sate his discomfort. I was sure to keep my own tone fairly vague yet inviting, needing to size up my client to understand what kind of partner he desired for the night if it was not explained to me outright.
I watched the drakul shift his weight from one booted foot to the other slightly before growing still, his silhouette remaining visible from the moonlight in the opened window. He appeared to be staring out the window in a nostalgic fashion.
"It is nights like these we must cherish, when we face even longer, colder nights ahead," were the next words he shared, reluctant in their offering as he exhaled as though exhausted. Deciding to grow busy, I proceeded to fill one of the small cups with some of the red liquid from the kettle. His words were curious but not worrying.
"Then let us not waste this night with such talk," I replied flirtatiously as I watched the blood of an unknown victim splash along the sides of the teacup, staining its white walls.
"Oh?" the drakul said with a layer of smug delight, and as I raised my gaze to view him I now noticed his presence directly before me. I first noted he was not the type to not shield his gifts, having used his species' stealthy gift to move. Then, carefully as to not appear rude, I looked upon his face. He seemed like every other drakul, with their desirable features and figures. It was rare to find a drakul displeasing to the eye. "Did you intend to make me your victim tonight?"
"A victim to my sins, surely," I purred at him, rolling a shoulder in his direction before pushing the small teacup of blood in his direction. Casually, I propped a thigh atop the small table to rest upon it. I kept my leg of leverage extended so that he had full view of my form, with my lengthy, tone leg beneath the ironed, fitted slacks I wore. My boots were designed to further elongate my limbs, though it seemed the detailed that I was nearly equal height to the client wasn't taken into account.
Those hellish, silver eyes surveyed my form slowly and unabashedly, but the state of his smile is what had captured my attention. It wasn't a smile of interest, but of humor. He was restraining laughter.
"Oh, Eoin, if you desired my gifts you would have to try harder. Besides," the drakul offered with a dismissive hand, leaning his torso towards me to speak at my eye level, "I've never been much into incest. Too close to home, so to speak," he laughed without restraint now as he moved to wander back towards the window at a speed visible to my eyes. I was baffled at his words, confused. Was it a game he was playing? A sexual fantasy? Did he want me to pursue him, to engage the fantasy that we were somehow related? At risk of ruining the mood, I decided to take the easier route to open the doors to discussion about what it was he desired from me.
"How do you know my name?" I asked him quietly, knowing our names were never given out. If asked, we were to provide a false name. Often, we were know by how well we bedded or our looks. Generally, I was referred to by feline characteristics by clients.
"Why wouldn't I?" the drakul's response came at the end of a chuckle, but when I had no response for him, I saw his chin rest upon his shoulder with those eyes set on me. His eyebrows were low, curved in what seemed like questioning. "I named you. Don't you know who you are?"
There had been many experiences in my life, repulsive, revolting, confusing and plain insane, but at that moment it seemed like the room, as large as it was, was closing in. Never once did I know how I acquired my name. I was passed from master to master, a slave from birth. I had known no parents, known no family. The only part of myself that I knew to hold onto was my name. I stood tall from the table to stand in the center of the rug, examining the stranger at the window.
"Who am I?" I asked, not caring for the deal I had made with Klaus. It was far too disturbing, far 'too close to home' to play sexual games. No client engaged me on a human level such as this. No client spoke my name to me.
By then, the drakul had turned to face me once more, the moonlight outlining his shape once more. He seemed almost ethereal then. A silence came over us, a light wind blowing a sheer drapery and the tension in the room thick. I was frightened, my hands flexing between balled fists and loose fingers. My heart began pounding and I was sure the drakul could hear it, feel and sense every emotion as a predator would. I didn't much care that he would read my body language, hear my blood coursing nervously. I just wanted answers.
"… They never told you," came his utterance, a light gasp as though he couldn't believe whatever he was concluding himself. "And they never gave you the blood?"
"Told me what? What blood?" I asked, a hint of desperation to my voice.
The drakul emitted a sharp, displeased noise. It was as though he cursed but it was not in any language I knew.
"It is time we needed you, Eoin. I need you," the creature hissed, obviously quite enraged now. Oddly, it didn't seem to be directed at me, nor did I feel he was about to attack. Perhaps I should have, because the male suddenly had me by the throat, slamming my back and head against one of portraits of the walls so hard that my ears rung. My vision blurred for a short time and my airways were cut off. I audibly choked until my vision cleared enough to see his angered face before mine, his fangs pronounced and his eyes bloodshot. There was a vein in the center of his forehead that throbbed, his attractive features sunken and hollow as he appeared to have aged decades in only seconds. That animalistic growl vibrated from his throat as his true, predator nature came forth. This was the true 'beauty' of drakul. "I'm sorry it has to be this way."
By then, I was thoroughly frightened. I attempted to call for help, hoping that perhaps Klaus would realize this was not false distress. Klaus paid good money for his property, and since I was his most valuable asset, he would be furious at my death in the hands of a client. At least, that was what I told myself.
"H-Help…" I gasped, my plea barely above a whisper from the grip he had on my throat. I could only watch helplessly as the male used his fangs to shred at the flesh of his own wrist, only to press it against my mouth. I knew it was part of the transformation, to swallow the blood of the dead, but before I could even clench my jaw shut, I tasted the sour saltiness of the liquid as it sloshed over my tongue. I stiffened and choked, feeling it glide smoothly down my esophagus and into my belly. A peculiar feeling arose when it felt almost as if the liquid had grown claws, latching onto my innards with spiky tendrils and seeping hot acid to burn away at my organs. Whether or not this truly happened, I can only speculate until this day.
"Listen to me, Eoin," came his request, almost soothing if it were not for his unnatural hisses. I had continued my struggles, the liquid being smeared across my mouth, nose, lips and chin. "When you rise, you will have the strength to escape this place. It is imperative that you travel to the Undercity and seek out the Chancellor's coven. All the questions in those eyes of yours will be answered. Let no one stop you." And with one final pause, the drakul's hand came down on my throat where I soon heard the loud pop of my own neck breaking.
Darkness ate at the corner of my eyes, my head falling to an unnatural position as I collapsed limply to the floor. The weight of gravity vanished upon my body in my paralyzed state as I struggled to remain aware. There was a light hiss in the air that I assumed came from the drakul, calm as if he was soothing me to sleep. My final remnants of life lingered like this for just seconds more until death completely claimed me.
And so I died on the floors that night, bewildered and broken. In my last moments I was unable to fathom that I was being given instruction, that I was not about to remain dead. All I could sense and taste was death all around me. It was black, hollow and empty. There was no warmth and no sound, just silent halls that extended to nothing and nowhere. I thought I was to be trapped in this strange place for eternity, suffering punishment for my sins. That is, until I heard the birds of morning.
It had been the dawn of my awakening, my humble beginnings as a threat to those in power. No one could have known what was about to be unleashed, not even the one who made me. The whore, Eoin Delaine, died that night… but a Reaper was born.