(Gays. Guro. Mature. Look out!)
“Now Van, dearest, can you comprehend this? Concentrate, boy, you mustn’t be so fragile!”
He wanted to puke. This was the only way to describe how he felt. He clutched his hand to the oozing gash on his wrist to stymie the bleeding, but already so much had poured out of him. It ran down his arm in warm rivulets and splashed on the stone floor now inches from his face. Why was this so difficult? What was he doing wrong? Suhayl made it look so effortless, so natural…
A dainty foot in a pale green slipper lifted his chin from his chest. “Are you even listening? Look at what you have wrought here, what a waste.”
“Blood, Vanik,” the demon lectured, “is power. It is what sustains us, our most vital humour. And because of this, it is where our strength lies. It delivers life to every organ in our body, and it can take it away. It carries the wisdom of all our ancestors, wisdom that can be turned—” He outstretched his palm. A wave of pain shot through Vanik’s body, every muscle seizing, his veins throbbing and burning. “—into power. And you would dare to waste such precious knowledge as that? Look upon that, you fool. Regard well what magicks you have let escape you, simply because you are inadequate.”
The young man cursed under his breath. Suhayl sat down beside him, carefully drawing the hem of his robes away from the dark pool. “Quite the pity,” he cooed. “I reckon it is fool of me to expect much of you. Such tiny horns.” A bangled arm slipped around Vanik’s waist to draw him up beside the mage, the head he could hardly hold up propped unwillingly against the elder’s shoulder. Suhayl cuddled him close, planting a soft, painted kiss on his forehead. Vanik hissed.
“You know,” Suhayl sighed, drawing a sharp nail across Vanik’s cheek, “Your brother was much more compliant. What a beautiful boy he was… But where was I? Your wastefulness…”
One by one he placed his fingertips into the spilled blood, closing his eyes. The pool bubbled and writhed, dancing around the outstretched points. Vanik watched dimly, not daring remove the hand that kept his wound shut. Suhayl hummed softly, without melody.
“This blood could be put to good purpose were you not so weak of mind, little one,” he taunted, though Vanik was built bigger than he. “There is power in even this. But when you let it escape into the open, anyone at all can use it without exertion.”
He swiveled his fingers, bathing them in crimson. Delicately he brought his hand to his mouth. His pinky slipped between his lips and he suckled thoughtfully as Vanik watched from the corner of his eye. The rest he painted across his tongue and lips. His slicked fingers wrapped around Vanik’s chin and pulled the young man’s face closer.
Vanik had not expected the blood-stained tongue to be forced against his. He jerked away with a feeble groan. Suhayl’s mouth fell.
“So much more compliant.”
For as little as he cared for his brother’s well being, it haunted him to think what this man might have done to the half-wit. Jovan always had such good to speak of the elder, so surely… It mattered not. He was struggling to keep conscious, his head swimming from his anger and the loss of fluid. He had cut too deep, too deep to control it. He realized now what Suhayl had meant about patience; he would not admit that the mage was right.
“You would make such a good supper.” The spindly fingers grabbed onto his horn, turning him about. “But your father would be quite upset with me, wouldn’t he? Here, let go.”
Vanik did not protest the hand that unlatched his own. The blood, happy to keep moving, gushed out before slowing to a hot trickle. Expertly Suhayl rolled his palms along Vanik’s forearm. The veins twisted and contracted, pulled themselves taut at his command; Vanik gasped and writhed along with them. The trickle came to a stop. From the table above them he pulled a strip of cloth, which he cinched around the gash.
“I cannot give you back what you let go,” he said, rocking him with mock tenderness, “But… This once I will help you. Though your body would be just as beautiful cold, I should like it to warm my bed sometimes.”
Vanik had grown too drowsy to question him. The world around him was swirling ominously. He did not see Suhayl pierce his own fingertip with filed claw, only felt when it was pressed into his mouth, the elder’s blood sweet and hot, pooling around his gums.
“What are you doing, boy? Drink! Unless you wish for death…”
He closed his lips around the seeping source of life energy, let it drip into his throat, too intoxicated by the rush to think of what he was doing, to understand what this despicable man was doing to him and how badly he needed it. He swallowed it down. Bit by bit he felt his strength returning.
“Do you see, Vanik? What this power can do?” Suhayl said softly, letting the young man nurse. That ailing face, the suckling, was so desperate and sincere. A shiver ran down his spine and to his loins.
He drew the finger away before his pupil could send him over the edge, standing and stretching to his usual regal pose while Vanik gathered his wits. “We will continue this later, boy. When you understand control. Although,” he smiled, “it would be my finest pleasure to teach you what that means.”
Vanik brought his head up just in time to see a flash of curled-lipped hunger across Suhayl’s face; he shuddered. He always had known that these lessons would come with a price.