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"That's right, weep in your own loneliness, forever!"
"This is goodbye, Sophie Anderson."
"Lily! LILY!"

The flames rose and licked at the rafters in unison with the pained howls, and I felt a sharp stab of pain for the poor child.

As always, I was nearby. Far enough away for the boy to not detect my presence, but close enough to hear his screams and sobs. Of course, had I so willed it, I could have been standing right next to him, and he would never have seen me.

This blessedly cursed blood we share, from which I was the fount. It granted me absolute control over those of the Blood. I felt it keenly, even as the girls perished one after another, felt their lives winking out like tiny stars in my own personal galaxy. And envied them for it, to finally be able to go to an eternal rest, while I and those like me went on, forever.

The boy, my boy, rose as always. Oh Allen, if you could only have seen him! I shuddered involuntarily, the mere memory of his scent evoking deeply buried emotions. I could not get too close, else my own control failed. But I could never stay away, not from the boy. Not from Allen's memory. Never, never.

The girl he wept over was still, but not quite yet dead. She bore the boy's blood, my gift to him raw in its essence. I was rather proud of him, to be quite honest. He was always such a bright child. Allen was so quick too, always outwitting us to escape the confines of the his eventual death, from which I could not save, in the end.

No no, I have Sophie now. Dear child. He did so well, prolonging the existence of others by sacrificing his own blood. Just so he could recreate his time at the Clan. How ironic, considering how they all used to pick on him as a dhampir. Yet he clung to that memory like a drowning sailor to driftwood, going mad as slowly and surely as the first of my children had. Yet different, different! As expected of one bearing Allen's blood. Beautiful boy, to have sought his dear Ul in the frozen tableau of trapped time. Honouring his best friend's memory by granting the only sort of eternity he could discover. Only too late, too late.

We are not so different, my boy, you and I. They dance to your tune like puppets on the string, whether you know it or not. You grant them the illusion of free will to satisfy your own whims. Are we so very different? All vampires of the Blood are subordinate to me. I did not ask for this, and my children, they fear and worship me in turn, as their living God.

I am so very lonely, Sophie. When will you be ready to be my friend?

I felt the boy's despair as he departed, his work of a thousand years in ashes. Except, no, not quite. One remained, stubbornly still alive, on the edge between life and death. I felt it keenly, a white dwarf on the verge of being extinguished, flaring brightly in my sight.

I was always aware of my children, scattered all across the world. Some knew me, others did not, but all were my blood. Like pinpricks of light in the darkness of my mind, I comforted myself with their distant lives, flaring to existence and burning out at the end of their lives. I would no longer spawn the ones that blazed as brightly as a bonfire, no more. Save Sophie, my precious boy. He was the lamp in my endless night. I shiver close, but never close enough, for fear of being burnt by his brilliance. Like a moth to a flame, almost.

He could not hurt me, of course. But I could hurt him, and I did not want to accidentally kill him. No, the boy must live. Surely, in time, he would come around. He would see. How much I needed him, and how much he needed me.

Perhaps, all he needed was a little example. To understand me. Then he would see...

The girl was dying. Even with Sophie's blood in her, even with her own fierce will, she was dying, as she had willed. I could almost admire the strength of her determination, the purity of her thoughts. Truly, she reminded me a little of Sophie, once upon a time.

She would be the perfect lesson. Surely, Sophie would finally see, finally understand then!

For a moment I feared that she would be too far gone, as Allen had been too far gone. I was not God, no matter what my descendants said. I was not limitless. Allen was my one great failure, but I was determined to not let Sophie fail.

This girl will be my gift to him. To teach him, to open his eyes. The girl would hate him, as he hated me. But she would need him, as he would surely need me.

I had sworn to never make any more like me, but all rules bent around my precious boy. He was worth it, my dear Allen. I would let the world burn for him.

The girl lay still as death in my arms, but already I could see the effects of my bite knitting the wound in her heart. She was strong, this girl, and I felt a curious pride. She was a descendant, as all vampires were, but not all were made equal. I had lived a long time, and seen much. She would be a trial to the boy, should she find him. I would not interfere, no. That would be cheating. And this would be a new game to watch, in my endless life.

As always, I would wait. I had time enough. I lay her down, amongst her friends, the dagger by her side. She would wake, soon, and I would be gone before she did. The boy was my priority, as always. She would follow when she was ready.

Time, and time again. I set off on my journey with no end, guided by the light before me, and a newly kindled flame behind.

Wake, child. Eternity awaits!