The Hollow Crown
What has one more day to offer you
A cold wall in a frozen landscape. The old scholar turns to his students “They say more lives end at this time, when night gives way to day. Perhaps it is as if death calls softly to you “turn now, what has another day to offer you.” Depsite his apparent age, it is a different form of weariness that causes his movements to be slow as he looks across Eboracum’s river westward. “I can see the wolves coming from the sea. It would be well for you not to be here when they come. Drink a little of my hemlock bowl and go into the night tomorrow. This is the first, and last lesson, you will pass on.”
His gathered students, from the centuries he has spent in this place seem sombre. It is left to the priestess to begin hesitantly “I too have seen these wolves coming. I fear them from the North and the East. I will head North with your knowledge to move amongst them. I see from there a possibility.” She pauses, uncertain, before taking her draught with certainty. The third student has seen this look before, it’s the look she has during a game when she weighs up whether a gambit is worth the risk. In this case, what brings her pause, is it simply weighing up the price of knowledge, or that this knowledge was purchased with pain, or perhaps has she interpreted there is more to this than simply one further lesson from the old scholar.
The noble, always so haughty, “I will take this knowledge to the south where we resist these brutes. Wessex will hold against these curs.” He drains his cup deeply and leaves. He seems to fail to understand the symbolism, what this truly means to his Sire. But then, he was never well served in those he taught. His wisdom does not seem to lead all to the same path as himself and the priestess. This one’s fundamental madness is in the blood, and despite the wonders his sire worked on others including the priestess, it could only ever be quieted, not stilled.
The monk shuffles forward, eyes to eyes the drink the drop to the end. As he takes the last drop, he sees his sire begin to slow and falter. He will retain enough strength for a few final days of action, but now his soul is dissipating into his.
The same memory, different players down through the centuries, a partial record of all of the line who have gone before from the memory where Saulot first passed on this skill and bade his childer to lead others to safety. As the long nights pass, those of other bloods appear seldom, and the numbers of the own blood dwindle. Often the ritual is hurried, the last desperate act of a sire to protect their childe before they face the hunters. Each time, it seems to come to them in prophecy, even for the peaceful ones, that the time for their soul has passed and they most hand the cup on.
And now this time comes to her. She lets the last drops of blood fall into the wooden cup and prepares for her student’s arrival shortly.
Her hand leans onto the telescope, through which she has shared in wonders over the years and now through which she only sees magic in the shadows of the dark.