My Gothic Boyfriend XXVI

I followed him. I was still in a panic– I probably would be until Justin opened his eyes and could talk to me– and I was worried about how much my grandfather was putting himself at risk. He took us to the main hall of his castle, where some of the men most loyal to him were already waiting.

“Grand-master!” Matthias cried as he ran over to us.

Erik, who was tall and lean with short black hair and skin like the moon, approached more slowly, but no less concerned. “By the shadows– Master, what happened to the boy?” He gazed down at Justin as though his pain were all too familiar to him.

“Hatred,” Grandfather told him. His eyes were cold and serious. “Vile hatred that made their blood bitter. They won’t be hurting anyone else ever again.”

Erik nodded. “How may we help you, master?”

“Do you remember where the last vial of healing potion is? Go get it from my room.” Then he looked over at Xanthus. “Prepare the steadiest carriage and my fastest horses. We must get him to the spring as quickly as we can.”

Erik raced up the stairs, and Xanthus bowed to him before heading out to the stables. Grandfather had Matthias bring him his darkest cloak and his widest hat. He sat uneasily in an armchair and stared down at Justin, and I stayed right beside them. When Matthias can back, Grandfather sent him off to the kitchen for a small cup of water. He returned with it just as Erik came back downstairs.

“There are only a few drops left, Master,” he said mournfully as he handed it over.

Grandfather nodded. “It’s not enough to heal all of him, but it will keep him from succumbing to his injuries before we get to the spring. Matthias, take some of the empty amphorae and baskets to Xanthus. We should be able to bring back what we need to make more potion.”

Erik helped remove the tiny cork from the vial, and Grandfather gently eased Justin’s mouth open to place a couple drops of the pale lavender liquid onto his tongue. Then he added a little water to the vial and gave that to Justin as well. Justin groaned weakly. Grandfather gave him a moment, and then gave him more of the water to help wash down the potion.

We watched for several tense moments, until Justin sighed and seemed to breathe a little easier. Whatever the potion had done, it had been on the inside– and we were grateful for it. The healing potions of my grandfather’s world cannot be explained in terms of science; his was a world of magic, and to that end, we had to accept that the potion would work, that it went where it was needed most and repaired what it could.

“Erik,” Grandfather said, beckoning him closer. He held out his wrist for him. “Drink, my childe. Partake of my power of the shadows and the pathways. You will need it if you are to clear away the two bodies from the alley and protect our secrets.”

Erik knelt before him and lowered his head respectfully. He obeyed, and sank his fangs into the wrist offered to him, and drank deeply.

“You and Matthias are charged with ensuring that nobody knows that Justin was attacked in that alley. They must believe that the boys went off to the woods just outside of town and were attacked by wolves.”

Matthias bowed. “As you command, grand-master.”

He knew that he would not be receiving any of my grandfather’s blood that night. Erik had been turned by him ages ago, but Matthias was much further down the blood-line. It was a high honor for anyone not sired by a vampire lord to ever receive their blood, for it imparted great ability and power. Erik was my grandfather’s pride and joy, his most favored childe. When he’d fed enough, Erik kissed the wounds he’d made, gave thanks for the gift, and stood up. He swore that he would carry out his duty without fail, then left for Earth with Matthias.

Grandfather’s wounds healed in mere seconds, and he got up from the chair. I followed him through the halls to the wide chamber adjacent to the stables. It reminded me of a sort of garage, a space safe from the sun but no less suited for preparing for a journey. There was a carriage positioned to leave the castle, its windows covered by heavy curtains to keep out the sun. Xanthus was finishing getting the horses– a pair of black-forest steeds– into their harnesses.

I opened the door to the carriage, and Grandfather climbed inside with Justin held close to his chest. Justin looked so much more like a little boy in his arms. He was still hardly moving, and I could only tell that he was breathing if everything else stopped moving and I focused very hard. I climbed in and sat beside him, gazing at Justin through blurry eyes. I wanted to take him from Grandfather, but I knew that he had him securely, and he was so calm, I didn’t think it would be right to move him.

Before too long, Xanthus let us know that everything was ready. He closed and secured the carriage door and got the horses moving. The way the garage worked, the doors leading outside were to be kept firmly shut until it was time to actually pass through them, and when they were opened, any vampires in the area had to either be inside of a blacked-out carriage, or further inside the castle. In that sense, I suppose it was almost like the airlocks I’d seen in science documentaries or science-fiction movies.

I heard the tall doors to the outside open, and the carriage moved forward a little more, and then Xanthus closed them again before climbing up into the driver’s seat. The whole process could have been done faster with the help of a couple more non-vampiric attendants, but at that time, Xanthus was better off doing it all himself rather than tracking down someone else to help.

The carriage started to move faster, first down the slope, away from the castle, and then turning down a rarely-used road. The place we were headed– where a healing spring was hidden– was considered sacred in Grandfather’s world. It was rooted in the world’s origin stories; even the reason for that magical spring was legendary. Grandfather had taken me there years ago, but we’d been able to go at night. This time, Justin had been beaten so badly that we didn’t have the luxury of time.

That was another important detail about this world and Earth, actually: time flowed differently. Sometimes it seemed to flow faster on Earth, while at others, Earth seemed to be the slower of the two. Grandfather had tried to explain why that was, but since it couldn’t be put into scientific terms, I hardly understood it. His world was a place of magic; it didn’t follow the laws of physics.

All I knew was that it was daytime there, and that we had to go straight to the spring in order to save Justin’s life and get him home before his mother started to worry. I could fudge a few hours, but not the days or weeks it would take for him to heal from this attack. The spring would make it so that he had almost no scarring, no infections, no complications. There would be no connection between him and the boys who would be found in the woods.

Grandfather wrapped an arm around my shoulders, enveloping me in his cloak and bringing me closer. He hummed as we traveled, and between his song and the steady rocking of the carriage, I soon fell asleep nuzzled against his chest, as close to Justin as I could get. He woke me much later to tell me that we were approaching our destination.

The spring flowed about mid-way up a rough sort of plateau. The plateau itself had once been a mountain, but it was broken by the roots of a massive, ancient tree. The Tree of Life rose up higher than any mountain-peak, and some of its roots peeked out between the stones. The vines of other plants wove around those exposed roots, and they were also home to moss and mushrooms and various small animals. Ancient lore said that there was a passage leading to Earth hidden somewhere in the caverns that dotted the wall of the plateau. Of course, the only person to ever find it was no longer alive.

The road to the spring was narrow and winding. It wove between trees of all kinds, and over a few bridges that spanned cold brooks. Sometimes we had shade, and other times we were in full view of the sun, but we trusted that Xanthus would get us as close as possible to the healing spring while still being shrouded from the sun. When the carriage slowed and pulled to a stop, I sat up straighter and looked up at my grandfather.

He didn’t say anything right away. Instead he waited for Xanthus to open the door on the shadier side of the carriage. Grandfather had me step out, and then handed Justin down to me. Xanthus help keep him steady as he was transferred to my arms, then climbed into the carriage.

“What– what are you doing?” I asked as I watched Xanthus helping Grandfather get covered up, shrouded in his large cloak, his hat, a scarf, and even gloves.

“Do you really have to ask?” Xanthus replied.

“Okay, yeah– I guess the question was a bit rhetorical. But… Grandfather, you can’t come out here. Just let Xanthus show me the way.”

Grandfather gave me a stoic look. “I will ensure that your beloved is saved,” he told me.

“But– No, Xanthus and I can do this.”

“I will be with you,” he intoned.

Xanthus stepped out of the carriage and helped my grandfather down. I stared at him with a look of fear and concern.

“Emory,” he said in a low voice; his gloved fingers caressed my cheek. “You should know that as a vampire lord, I am not so fragile. I can walk with you to the spring.”

“Grandfather…” I whispered. I was certain that he heard how badly my voice was shaking.

“Let’s go,” he said. He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and led me forward.

Xanthus went ahead of us, mainly to ensure that we’d be alone in the area. It was rare for anyone else to be there, but there was no reason to risk it, especially knowing how unpopular vampires were in this region.

As we walked away from the carriage, the path narrowed to one meant for walking. We crossed another small bridge, then emerged from under the tree-line into a sort of clearing. It was surrounded in part by colorful trees and partly by the rocky wall of the mountain, which the brook ran close to, but there was also the open edge, where one could look out and have a vast view of the land. It was a sheer drop down from there, so I stayed away from it.

In about the middle of the clearing was a cairn, its stones ancient and covered in moss. Grandfather stopped beside it and laid his fingers lightly on one of the stones. He closed his eyes, and his lips moved as though whispering.

“Grandfather…” I breathed. “This cairn… it’s the one from the legends, isn’t it? It’s where they laid Tiernan to rest.”

He gave me a slow and solemn nod. “It is because of him that we have the healing spring at all.”

He didn’t wait for me to say anything else; not that I wanted him to, because the cairn was in full view of the sun, and I didn’t want him to linger there, even if he was covered. We walked on, to the far end of the clearing, where there was a little bit of shade, then down a stairway cut into the stone. There was another clearing below, smaller and shadier than the one where the cairn laid, and near the inner wall of the mountain shallow pool of crystal-clear water. It was fed by a sort of sputtering waterfall that flowed out from cracks in the stone– probably sourced from the brook above. The way the light reflected off the water made it seem as though it glowed a faint blue.

“The sacred spring…” I breathed.

Grandfather nodded. “Lay him in the water.”

“But won’t that contaminate it?”

He shook his head. “Part of the magic of our world is that this spring cleanses and renews itself. Go ahead.”

I nodded and knelt before the spring, then slowly lowered Justin into it. The water wasn’t as cold as I’d worried it would be; it actually felt good on my skin. It seemed to glow just a little more where it touched Justin’s body, especially around his wounds. He groaned faintly. His swollen fingers twitched as they sank into the water, and the swelling started to go down a little.

“Remove his clothing,” Grandfather said softly. He started to lift up Justin’s T-shirt, while Xanthus moved down to untie his boots. I couldn’t do much more than hold Justin steady and help get his arms out of his shirt without jostling him too much.

The sight of him was enough to bring me to tears all over again. It looked like he’d been hit by a Mack truck, the way he was bruised and bleeding. It looked even more certain that he had cracked ribs and damaged organs.

“Little Moon…” I croaked.

“Stay steady, Emory,” Grandfather reminded me gently. He moved down to unbutton Justin’s pants, and Xanthus helped them get them off of him. He positioned his body between me and Justin to keep me from seeing all of him. “Just give the magic time to work. The water will enter him and heal from the inside first.”

My body shook; I could barely his onto his frail, tiny form.

“The stones and the bottom of the pool are smooth. Lady him down.” Grandfather helped me lower him further into the water. “This water cannot drown him, Emory. Trust it to heal him.”

I could hardly see what I was doing through my tears. Justin’s body slipped deeper into the water. Grandfather cupped his hand a dipped his hand in, then pour the water over Justin’s face, much like a parent would for a small child.

“Lord Thorne!” Xanthus exclaimed.

I looked over to see steam rising up from Grandfather’s glove. His hand trembled, I grabbed his wrist and pulled him away from the water. “Grandfather, if it hurts you, don’t do it!”

“I will be fine,” he insisted.

“Clearly not!”

“It takes a lot more that a handful of water to destroy my body,” he insisted.

“Look, you don’t have to hurt yourself,” I told him. “You did enough just by bringing him here.”

He stared into my eyes; his seemed darker than usual, angry, but also… afraid.

“Emory,” he said between gritted teeth, “they were going to kill him– without so much as a care! From what I could tell, he’d done nothing to them. They simply hated his existence.”

I swallowed hard. There were those in his world who felt the same about vampires, who tried to blame them for some of the bad things that had happened in ancient times. As much as he was a predator, he also reviled that kind of hatred. He brought sensuality and passion to his vampiric needs; he couldn’t deny his nature, but he could bring nobility to what he was.

“I know, I whispered. “I cannot thank you enough for saving his life. But you can’t hurt yourself when I can take over from here. Please, go back to the carriage with Xanthus.”

Grandfather eyed me for long moments. Eventually, he got to his feet and kissed the top of my head. “Take all the time you need, Emory. I will await you in the carriage.” He pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to me. “This might help. I would check on the progress Erik and Matthias have made, but my powers are incredibly limited out here.”

“It’s all right,” I assured him, “Please, stay safe. I– we’ll…”

I looked back down at Justin, searching for some sign that his bruises were lightening– anything to show how he was healing.

“It takes time, Emory.”

I nodded. “O-okay. Just… get out of the sun.”

Xanthus followed my grandfather back up the stone steps, and I turn my attention back to Justin. I could have screamed at the injuries I saw there– the ones my grandfather had blocked me from seeing. Even with the magic working hard to heal him, Justin’s hip and upper thigh were swollen and bruised a dark purple. Whatever those boys had done to cause such damage, the doctors on Earth would have had a hard time fixing it; he’d have been lucky just to walk with a limp, if they were even able to help him that much. I was thankful that my grandfather had gotten to him before anything worse had been done, but I was furious with myself for leaving him alone for even a moment. How could I have let my guard down like that?

I heard a weak rasping sound from Justin.

“I’m here baby,” I reassured him, though I wasn’t certain how clear my words were coming out.

I moved closer to the edge of the spring and let his body sink almost completely beneath the water’s surface; only his eyes and nose and mouth stayed out. I used my hand to ladle water onto his cheeks and forehead and cleanse away the blood. Everywhere that the water touch his scratches, there was a faint blue glow, and the wound soon closed up without even a scar. There was a gash hidden by his hair that glowed especially bright; the water rinsed away sticky clots of blood, and I soaked more of his hair to make sure all of it got clean.

I dripped water onto his lips and washed away the blood there as the would healed. Then I held him a little more upright and scooped up water for him to drink. Even as drowsy as he was, Justin drank as though he were parched. I gave him as much as he wanted, occasionally pausing to wipe his face with the handkerchief.

“Blackthorne…” Justin eventually gasped. He sounded hoarse and weak.

“I’m right here, Little Moon,” I whispered.

He clung onto one of my hands. “Hurts… so bad…”

Tears threatened to flow all over again. “You’ll be okay soon, baby. Just try to relax.”

Justin turned slowly to face me. His eyes were much less swollen now, and he could open them just a little. He peered up at me. I cupped his cheeks and gazed back down at him. The brown in his eyed seemed darker now, and they were tinged a deep crimson. He looked afraid, even confused; I realized then that he might not remember much of the attack.

“So… thirsty…” he wheezed. His head turned towards the sound of running water. “What… where…”

“It’s just a tiny waterfall,” I told him. “It flows down into the spring.”

Justin slowly looked around himself. He seemed confused that he was naked and lying in a pool of water. He looked up at me, then back to the water and pointed.


“Okay,” I said, and got up. He clung to my arms and I helped him stand.

Justin was shaky at first, but once he was a little more steady, I helped him over to the little waterfall. He gazed up at it and opened his mouth to drink as much as he could catch.

“Well, you really were thirsty.”

Justin glanced at me, then went back to drinking. His hands rested on my shoulders, and I waited for him to be full. Once he’d had enough, he laid his head on my chest and leaned his body fully against mine.

“Blackthorne,” he whispered. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Little Moon,” I murmured, and kissed the top of his head. “Are you feeling a little better now?”

He nodded weakly and stayed close. I was relieved, but cautiously so. He looked a lot better; the swelling was gone, the bruising only faint discolorations, the scratches healed. Even the point where his central line had been was now hardly even visible as a scar. The trauma of seeing him beaten like that was still raw in my mind, and the fact that we were now standing in the sacred healing spring in my grandfather’s world felt unreal.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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