The Curse Of The Eclipsium (The Midnight People 1)

In the fantasy world of Riarkum, where powerful yet dangerous 'midnight people' live hidden away from human civilization, the crew of the Eclipsium have been cursed with vampirism for over a century. When Ander Zavien is rescued from his execution by the ships mysterious Quarter-Master 'Ransom', he is pulled into the center of a violent conflict between those who are willing to sacrifice everything to reverse their curse, and the order of night-hunters set on destroying it entirely.
As his own blood hangs in the balance, he seeks out the truth of why these creatures of night are fighting to keep him alive, and why they call him 'Firstblood.'


25. Chapter 25 - Ghosts Tell Tales

Samson was only a couple of feet from the ground, maybe shoulder height, but floating. His arms were limp, knees bent a little with his head slack. His back was arched like he was being held by only his middle.
And he wasn't moving. 
It was Ransom who had yelled, and Davelynn after him. The two were frozen at the opposite end of the clearing, staring wide eyed.
Ransom was trying to step forward, but his arms were wrapped around himself.
"Samson!" Ander cried, his throat tearing. He started to run past Hunter, but his shirt was grabbed, yanking him abruptly back. 
"Don't," he ordered, quietly. "Whoever this is could be baiting us." 
"He's hurt!" Ander objected, trying to twist from his grip. As if on queue, blood dripped from Samsons cheek and onto the grass. 
It made him tremble. Who could possibly have taken down Samson?
The others heard the commotion, because they began emerging from the forest at speed, each freezing on the spot in wake of the grim sight before them. 
Hunter looked pleadingly at Ander, still with a tight grip on his sleeve. "I cannot stop you.. But please allow me go alone."
Ander watched his eyes, how they bargained with him. He couldn't quite tell whether he was only asking him as a form of reverse psychology. 
"Fine.." He surrendered. It was better him than nobody. "You go."
Hunter nodded thankfully.
Releasing the boy, he made his way to Samson. The air was eerily still, save for Ruth swearing under her breath incessantly a few feet away.
Then, a voice rang out, strangely light and childlike.
"We are sorry to have alarmed you," he said, bodiless but based somewhere close to Samson. "Why have you come here?" 
Hunter stopped in his tracks. He looked about him, as did the others, but settled on Samson instead. His eyebrows were lowered.
"Who are you?"
"Perhaps if you share first, we will."
Hunter hesitated. His eyes narrowed almost undetectably. "I am Captain Hunter Wythorne of the Eclipsium. We are new-blood vampires, and we came here to hunt. Now, show yourself! I do not want to result to violence.."
It happened quite suddenly. There was a shimmer in the light, and four figures emerged from thin air. Three men, and a girl. 
The closest, a tall fellow with shaggy black hair, was holding Samson in his arms. He was dressed entirely in deep blue kimono like robes, opened a little to expose his chest. The ginger haired girl behind him, and a man who looked like he simply must be related to her one way or another, were dressed very similarly. Hers were a dark orange, however; his fading shades of brown.
The 4th member of the group smiled sweetly. He was the speaker.
He was quite small and lithe, with curly blonde hair surrounding his heart shaped face. He wore floor length white robes, tied around his waist by some sheer blue material. 
Though his eyes were large, childlike, they were a piercing blue that burned through Ander without even focusing on him. 
The boy had a hand on the black haired mans broad shoulder, but he trailed it down to lift Samson's limp head as he spoke. 
"I am Finnian Gora, they call me the leader of the drifter clan." He said softly, his voice terribly and effortlessly calming. 
"Reynick mentioned this boy to me.." Ander whispered to Quill, who was stood to his right.
Quill frowned a little. "'Ee did?" 
"I'm terribly sorry about your friend.. He was blood driven, and attacked my comrade Fabian here. He did not harm him, just tapped into his consciousness." Finnian glanced uneasily at Samson, and appeared concerned. "We waited here hoping one of you would collect him.."
The black haired man shifted. He looked at Hunter. "You may have him if you wish."
"Hand him over. Will he wake soon?" Hunter scowled.
Fabian handed over Samson like he might a sleeping child, and the Captain struggled to arrange him in his arms. Cyro quickly rushed forward to his aid. 
"Within the hour," Finnian assured him. His smile did not vanish; so much so that it was almost unnerving. However it was not snake-like, as Drake's had been. It was hauntingly beautiful.
Cyro took Samson easily in his arms, letting his head rest against his shoulder rather than rocking back. The sleeping man still did not even flinch, and Ander moved over to examine him. 

Not harmed him my ass, he almost spat, as he wiped the blood from his chin with his hand.

"I won't ask you why you ventured here," Finnian said calmly, drifting closer to Hunter and tilting his head. His eyes narrowed just a little. "I'm sure you have a good reason."

"Night hunters." Said the Captain. "They're on our tail."
"For what, Captain?"
Ander stiffened. So did hunter.
If they were really drifters, discovering what Ander was could cause problems.
"We're simply a ship full of vampires." He smiled grimly. "Why wouldn't they want our heads stacked on a pike?"
The lie seemed flawless, but Finnians face didn't change. He knitted his fingers together, and turned his gaze onto Ander. It wasn't so much that he looked menacing, in fact he was far from it. But the innocence in his eyes was almost unnervingly out of place. Surely, he couldn't be as sweet as he appeared..
Ander attempted to stare back at him, his arms folded, but it now concerned him what the man was capable of. Even someone harmless looking had a capability to be dangerous. Especially someone who's kind he knew nothing about. 
And then Finnian looked back at Hunter, and smiled.
"..All of you?" He breathed.
The red haired girl to the back of Fabian had been staring intently at Ander, as well. She spoke softly, almost dreamlike. "I sense something different about that one."
"Which?" Asked the lookalike beside her, and she pointed right at me.
"The curly haired boy."
Anders breath hitched. Words were stuck in his throat. 
What excuse would work? He thought desperately. The slightest slip up could give him away..
But more importantly, how the hell could she SENSE him?
"Ander is.. a clearblood." Ransom lied quickly, looking up at him. Ander exhaled finally. He nodded fast.
"Afraid I am!"
Ransom smiled blandly at him. He glanced between the two briefly. "That'll be what you're sensing. He's travelling with us temporarily."
"Hm.. Alright!" Finnian said, and clapped his hands together. "That seems.. reasonable enough. I wouldn't advise lying to me under any circumstance.. It's unpleasant, and unnecessary. Now, would you have my companions aid you with any heavy lifting on your return to the ship? As an apology for your friends current state.."
"Please, it should be us apologis-"
"One cannot help what they are, Captain." Finnian smiled. Hunter, apparently surprised at being interupted, drew his lips into a thin line.
"Of course." He managed. "But the help is unnecessary."
Finnian sighed. He ran a hand back through his blonde locks and rubbed at the nape of his neck. 
"If you insist." He said, shrugging his shoulders. That bright smile returned again as he started to back away. "Farewell, now." He said warmly, his ocean like eyes deep and almost foreboding. "I have no doubt that we will meet again."
And just like that, the clearing was empty. The four drifters vanished into thin air.
"Well, I'll be damned.." Muttered Gillian. 
Cyro knelt in the grass now, placing Samson before him, and checked him for injuries. He seemed unharmed at a glance, but Ander still rushed forward.
"Is he going to be alright?" He asked urgently. Cyro looked up at him and narrowed his eyes a little. 
"Do I look like a witch-doctor to you, boy?"
"Is doesn't take a degree to see if he's been beaten senseless!" Ander retorted. 
Before Cyro could rise, his eyes turning suddenly angry, Hunter placed a hand on his shoulder. 
Then, it struck him. Something about Finnian he recognised. It was the unspoken control that he carried; how he could walk into a clearing and suddenly be in charge. How, despite knowing Hunters rank, he could simply cut him off mid-sentence. 
He reminded him of the Captain himself. 
"'Ee looks like 'eel be jus' fine."
"I saw blood on his hand earlier, though.." Ander insisted. 
Cyro sighed impatiently. "Jus' from 'is damn hunting trip. It's not 'is blood!"
"Ander," Davelynn said, approaching behind him. She was holding a large cask of something in her arms, and he didn't have to ask to know what it was. 
"I need to hunt," she said, "can I trust you to get this to my brother?"
"I'll go with 'im." Cyro offered, though he sounded not at all happy about it. He lifted Samson again, hauling him over his shoulder with a meaty arm wrapped around his legs, and glowered at Ander a moment. "For blondie and the kid. Not you."


When Samson woke, Ander was sitting opposite him in Gillian's hammock, which was sunken and ragged and reeked of something foul. Across the cabin Ruth was reclining in her own hammock, and Davelynn sat opposite her brothers on a stool. The cask Ander had taken back was in her lap.
The others were on deck, though they hadn't deported yet. Samson had been asleep for two hours.
But the man sat up so abruptly, it was like he had had water poured over him. 
"No!" He gasped out suddenly, and alerted everyone in the room immediately. 
Ruth chuckled from where she sat, peering over a moment. "Easy there, Sunshine." She smirked. "Nice nap?"
"What the hell?" Samson cried, his hazel eyes wide in puzzlement. He looked at Ander, and leaned across the aisle to grab his arm. "Why am I here? I was.. Hunting!"
"You, uh.." Ander started, but he honestly didn't understand what had happened himself. "We ran into some drifters. They say they're from a midnight tribe.. Apparently you attacked their leaders lackey while you were driven."
Samsons pupils shrunk. He released his grip on Anders arm almost immediately, which was unknowingly far too tight and left a white imprint. "Oh, hell.. I really screwed up this time, huh?"
"Finnian didn't seem too troubled by it.. He offered to help with carrying back the blood supply as compensation for putting your lights out!"
"Ah, Finnian Gora.." Ruth said dreamily. "Little guy, ain't 'ee? Who'd have thought he'd be a leader.. I still would."
"I don't FEEL injured.." Samson muttered, rolling his shoulders back and sitting up. "I mean, I can usually tell a little even when it's healed.. Was it magic?"
"Reynick couldn't trace it on you. He says he'd be able to.. It's some kind of drifter mumbo-jumbo."
"'Mumbo jumbo'?" Alec repeated sleepily. Ander looked up from Samson.
The boy wasn't even close to healthy looking, but he was sitting at last. His pink lips were coated red; yet his eyes didn't quite match the shade. 
A faint smile drifted onto his lips. "You talk like an old man."
He started to stand, slowly. "Davelynn, is he driven?"
"No. I fed him while he was asleep, so you're fine." 
Alec blinked a couple of times, tilting his head. "Hello there." 
Ander rushed forward, and hugged him fast. He had to lean over, and lift his head to reach his shoulder, but he just had to embrace him. 
He was alright.. Alec was alright!
Alec chuckled weakly. He couldn't hug him back due to his rope restraints, but nuzzled his shoulder a moment. "Thankyou.."
"Thank YOU, Alec!" Ander beamed, drawing back. "Thankyou for recovering!"
"Well, ain't this just heart warming?" Ruth grinned, peering over at the two of them. "Just touching." 
"I'll tell the others that you're cured." Davelynn smiled, heading out to the deck. Ander replaced her by his side.
Samson, stiffly, was rising from his hammock. He jumped down after a few moments, though his knees cracked when he landed. "Ah, son of a.. I'm rusty. Finnian what's-his-face has some explaining to do."
"You wanna talk about his face, now?" Ruth smirked, leaning her chin on her knees. "It was marvellous."
"I don't give a rats-arse about the bloke.. Blimey-o-Riley, Ruth, you got the eye for every guy that moves?"
"I like to appreciate the finer things in life! Some girls too, y'know.. I don't discriminate." Ruth smirked. 
Samson curled his lip in disgust. The blonde stretched a moment, putting his arms behind his head one after the other to push on his elbows, and then straightened. "We docked, yeah?"
"I'm gonna go for a run.. I need it right now."
And like that, he was up the ladder and out of sight. Ander closed his mouth.
Alec gave him a lopsided smile, and gestured for him to lean in. Frowning, he obliged. "Think he fancies Ruth?" The boy whispered. 
Ander almost snorted. "Gods help him if you're right!" 
"Something to say, pig-spit?" Ruth demanded.
Ander almost cursed under his breath. He whirled around to look at her. "No." He glared briefly. "Nothing. I just don't see why you feel the need to act like an unlikeable bitch all the time."
"Ever considered that I am just an unlikable bitch?"
"Don't fight, you two.." Alec pleaded weakly. "Stop being so mean to each other, huh?"
"Well," Ander smiled blandly at her, patting Alec's hand reassuringly, "Let me be the mature one, Ruth, and tell you that you're not. You're not a bitch. And you're only unlikable because you push anyone away that could possibly care about you. But you know what?"
"What?" She growled.
Ander tilted his head. "I can see that you're just like me. You're hurt but you don't want anyone to know that.. So you act like an arse to deflect them. Huh?"
"You son of a bitch!" She growled, sitting up sharply. "Don't just assume that you know everything about me! You damn well don't!"
"Hey!" Alec snapped suddenly. Both sets of eyes whirled back to him. 
He didn't look away, staring them both down in disappointment. The condescending look made him appear a little older. "I'm supposed to be the child I'm the room. If you're gonna argue, please do it somewhere else.."
"We're done," Ander smiled warmly, and gently ruffled his dark hair. "I promise, kiddo. No more fighting."
"Speak for yourself.." Ruth muttered, but she didn't speak again after that. She had two pieces of string in her lap, one white and one red, and she was braiding them distractedly together. "And don't call him kiddo. He's older than you."
Alec inclined his head toward Anders palm, very much like a puppy seeking the hand that stroked it. "I don't mind much. Better than 'boy.'"
Ander smiled to himself. 
"Anderson?" Reynick said from the doorway. He emerged from Yates kitchen with a raised eyebrow, placing his hands on the doorframe. "Toby prepared lunch.. Haven't you eaten?"
Then his icy eyes fell to Alec, and grew warm. His dormant smile quickly erupted. "Alec, thank goodness! Are you completely cured?"
"Almost." Alec smiled proudly, "I just need to rest up."
"Then you leave him for a while, Ander. Come and eat."
Nodding to the boy happily, Ander followed after Reynick with his mind almost at peace.
Until they entered the kitchen, and Reynick slammed the door, blocking it with his body and leaning against the frame. 
"Ander, you met Finnian Gora?" He demanded abruptly.
Ander stepped back a little, frowning at him. "Yes.. Briefly. I know, you have a history or something, but-"
"I know him about as much as you do. But if he's seen you, you deserve to know that he has SEEN you. He's one of the most powerful drifters alive today."
Anders brow furrowed. He glanced at the opposite door over his shoulder before speaking. "What.. What are you talking about?" 
"Drifters have the ability to read the surface and primal emotions of both humans and midnight people alike. The strong can read thoughts, too. And the powerful can tap into the between and access memories.. All of them. Can you tell me how Finnian acted when you were present?"
Ander stuttered a moment, alarmed. "What do you mean he could access my memories?!"
"Answer the question, Ander, please."
He tried to focus on Reynicks face, and remember Finnians behaviour.
For one thing, he hadn't stopped staring.
"He was weirdly fixated on me.. His eyes would go to Hunter occasionally to speak to him, but they'd always end up set back on me. Staras breath, what the hell did he see?"
"I'm afraid I don't know." Reynick confessed. He looked almost apologetic. "If you sparked the attention of Finnian Gora.. I doubt there's much he hasn't seen."
Ander ran his hands across the nape of his neck, then tangled them in his curls and yanked on them. He was pacing in circles. "Holy crap.." He breathed. "Oh, god, oh my god.."
"Are you alright, Ander?"
"Reynick, I just got god damn mind-raped!" He barked. "No, I'm not alright! He knows what I am, everything I've seen.."
And not just about me, he thought. The others lives in the between, too. 
That terrified him even more. 
He looked up at the man sharply. "He knows exactly what we're doing! Where we're going!"
"And if he were going to act on that, you wouldn't have left the island." Reynick reassured him, but Ander wouldn't calm down, and deep down Reynick was almost as disturbed as he was. His pupils had shrunk.
He turned to him, his hands now rubbing at his temples nervously. He felt like exploding, like screaming about how nothing ever seemed to go right for him. But complaining wouldn't make the situation any better.
"Just go. Leave me be for a while."
Reynick sunk a little. He drew his lips into a thin line, but nodded fast, and headed back out through the door. He slammed it purposefully hard behind him.
Ander exhaled. He sunk back against the wall. 
His time was drawing closer, and it seemed only complication after complication was emerging. All he wanted to do was curl into a ball in a dark cave somewhere, and let it wash over him. Only that was impossible. 
He tangled his fingers in his hair once more. He swore that if he did so much more he'd wind up pulling it out; but that was the least of his concerns. 
"What am I doing.." He cursed himself under his breath, and kicked back off the wall.
Brooding wasn't helping him. It definitely wasn't helping the others.


*Saare Izolare*
With a kick, Soren was thrown aside, hitting the concrete wall heavily and landing with a sickening thud. He cried out with the pain, before biting it back. 
"God, damn it!" He choked, "I don't know anything! I-I swear it!" 
"We cannot trust a word from your filthy mouth, Mage! You've been poisoning the minds of those around you all this time. You sick, creature!"
"I am no Mage!" Soren objected, attempting to sit despite the agony in his chest. When the tears in his eyes rolled away, and his vision cleared, he could make out Darius on the other side of the bars, clutching at them. 
He was wide eyed, tears pricking at his clear blue eyes like ocean waves. "You can't touch him! For the love of the gods, don't hurt him again!"
Captain Grave scowled at him, before landing another merciless kick in Sorens groin that send him hurdling toward the bars, so that the chains around his ankles strained.
He shrieked with the pain, then gasped at air and didn't dare open his eyes. They were clenched shut, his body bruised and bloody and doubled over from the violent interrogation. 
Only the touch of Darius' hand on his swollen cheek bribed him to peer up.
The man was kneeling, reaching an arm between the bars to him. "Is it true?" He whimpered, red faced from weeping. He gave a terribly innocent, yet fearful smile. "You, are a-"
"I can't be!" Soren choked out, and coughed up quite a nasty amount of blood and saliva as a result, that decorated the concrete floor. Darius held his shoulder to support him, trembling. 
He reached up weakly to put his hand over Darius'. "I'm.. I'm still a clearblood, I've always been a clearblood! If I'm really twin brothers with a firstblood, he must have seeped up all the beast blood or something!" 
"You're going to change into one of those bloody torch dancers like your brother will a blood drinker! Like a stinking firstblood!" Barked the captain. He was stood over him now, with a sadistic grin. "You are what you hunt, Soren. Now what do you say you tell me where the cure is before I put you out of your misery?" 
"The cure?! There is a cure?! I don't know anything about a cure!"
"We have you, and now we need your brother, you utter imbecile! Your family ARE the cure, for the curse. Don't try to cover your arse, Soren Black, we know you're his inside man!"
"I did not know I had a brother until today, captain!" Soren cried. "I don't know anything about a cure! I don't know anything! Gods, what the hell is happening to me?"
"Please, just let him go.." Darius pleaded, stroking Sorens hair with tears now streaming down his freckled cheeks. "He's faithful to the order; if he's truly a Mage, put him in the night wing! Please, just don't kill him! Staras breath, anything but that!" 
"Darius," Grave said slowly, "If we allowed this sorry bastard into the night wing, the whole squadron would be half way to Frimaria by tomorrow and ten times as deadly."
"W-What the hell are you talking about?" Soren breathed. "I'm.. I'm some sort of cure? I caught that much.. How?"
The captain knelt before him, and grabbed a fistful of Sorens outgrown auburn hair, tugging him up by it so that they were level. His nose was broken and dripping with blood, cheeks grazed, with more blood trickling down his forehead from a deep gasp in his head. Grave grinned, like he was admiring his masterpiece. 
"I'd like you to imagine a lock on every vampire, changer and drifter prowling the world. Vampires unable to step into the light, changers unable to consume human food and susceptible to becoming wild in animal form, drifters unable to remain in spirit form for more than five minutes.. All vulnerable to silver. We're taught these weaknesses, but have you never wondered why you aren't taught the weaknesses of the magi?" 
Both Soren and Darius remained silent. Grave smiled, "It's because they created them."
"How could that..?"
"It was during the reign of King Augustus, Emperor Alerons great great grandfather, when he had a council of magi at his disposal. He viewed the nightens as the threat they were and ordered that a curse be placed on all of them, from the four corners of the world. Every single one.. These weaknesses the curse created made them killable, MAKE them killable. It's rumoured that three vials of a cure were kept, one at the magi coven, while the whereabouts of the other two are unknown. And now a ships worth of vampires are about to be cured, if they drink the blood of your twin brother during his rebirth."
"H-How is that-"
"Possible? It's bloody disgusting, for one thing. In fact, it was your mother feeding the cure to you both as one year olds before we cleared out that vampires nest you were squatting in that makes you so valuable. Because.. It isn't the enchanted liquid in the vial alone that rids a nighten of their curse. It has to be mixed with the blood of another pure nighten. And so you both must be destroyed, as you are walking cures!"
Darius stared at Soren in terror, but he looked equally as horrified, staring at his shaking hands in disbelief.
"NO! You're lying to me!"
"You and your brother have the ability to throw the world out of balance, flowing in your veins.. Can't you taste it?" Grave smirked, and slammed Sorens face into the floor before standing up. Soren choked on the blood and bile rising in his throat, droplets running down his chin. 
Grave moved toward the gate, unlocking it, and was promptly punched in the jaw by Darius. "Y-You bastar-"
A thud, and the blonde haired boy had already been thrown across the room into Sorens cell, slamming into the wall with a muffled screech of pain. Captain Grave glowered at him.
"Perhaps I'll execute you with him, Lieutenant Mallory! Re-assess where your loyalties lie!"
The gate was slammed shut once more. Soren, incredibly weak, forced himself up in alarm. "Darius, are you injured?" 
Darius groaned in response, rolling over, and exposing a large bump to his head already emerging. "Ouch.. Just bruised.. Soren, you're badly injured, though! O-Oh, gods.."
"Shh.." Siren sighed, and caught his wrist. "Look, uh.. I-I love you, I always have and always will love you, Darius Mallory..I've never told you that, have I?" He chuckled weakly. "Well, I do. And I'll still love you when I die." 
"If, if! Not when! You're not dying, not while I'm breathing." Darius sobbed, and wrapped his arms around him tightly.
Soren sighed, threading a hand through his blond curls delicately. How those vampires knew that his brother was some sort of cure, he didn't know. But if the mages were to blame, he suspected they were involved somehow. They might have tricked them. 
"They might have told the vampires that the cure was a cure for vampirism itself." Darius voiced aloud, and looked down at him. 
Soren sighed, still clutching at his stomach. "I don't know.. You should go, Darius." He said, sitting straight. "They'll be calling you to the ship soon."
"I can't fight the brother of the man I love!"
"You go, or they kill you. And family or not, I will always care more about you than him."
Darius looked at his feet, but nodded shortly. Soren was shirtless, so the full extent of his cuts and bruises was visible, a patchwork quilt of purple and blue. 
He un-clipped his cape, and draped it like a blanket over the man. "I won't let them kill you, Soren."
"I doubt there's much you will be able to do.."
And so once he had left Soren scooted closer to the wall, drew Darius' cloak over him, and looked at his hands. 
Magic, he almost scoffed. There was no magic in him!

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