The Blood of Old Souls
Part II: Markos
Markos is a 5th Generation Charmer. His father, Gregos, taught him how to win the hearts of women before he could walk. His purpose in life is etched in stone — a fate that he will soon find out is the calling he never would have accepted if the choice was his. Deep in the bowels of their illustrious castle, Markos rejects his fate. Gregos makes him regret the decision.
The cellar is cold and dank. The candles are lit in their holders, shining a treacherous light in the belly of the Torgulos Castle. Gregos stands with a shimmering sword, his hands trembling from the night air. He is armed for battle but there is no war. Markos approaches his father — stumbles into his path, cautious, but ready to denounce the throne. His heart is somewhere else. He begins his plea.
“Father, I am not built for the ways of your world. I want to live a life of my own. For my twentieth birthday, I seek your blessing in granting me this wish.”
Gregos sways on his bony legs, sucks in the crisp air of the cellar, and mumbles loud enough for Markos' ears only.
“Markos, you are a Charmer. For decades the men in our family have taken the hearts of women for our feast. It is your calling. You will answer it.”
One did not argue with Gregos Torgulos, but Markos was brave.
He knew that his love for a special woman’s heart depended on his loyalty. He would not kill his love and feast on her heart, even if she was willing. He decides that his father’s beliefs can never be his own.
“Father, there is a woman. I have charmed her. She is ready to give me everything. All I need to do is ask. I want her heart, but not to kill her. I want… I want to marry her. I want us to leave this village and build our own happiness away from the gloom of Torgul. I will only ask once more. Your blessing, will you grant it?”
A powerful clap of thunder spreads across the night sky. The sound clangs deep in the walls of the castle. A lightning bolt scatters away from the heavens and lands on the castle’s roof. A wind rushes in briefly and puts out each candle in the cellar. Gregos forms his words, he grips the sword tighter, and repeats his command.
“You will only ask once more?! My child, who do you think you are? You are my son, but I will just as soon feed you to the lions as I would a peasant touching my armor. You will obey our heritage. You will take your woman’s heart and devour it. There is nothing else to discuss.”
In the dark crevices of the cellar, Markos sweeps in under his father, commandeers his sword, and unlatches the breastplate. In a fit of terror, he signals Ana. She appears out of the shadows, unhinges her jaw, smacks her lips, and digs Gregos' heart out effortlessly with her venomous teeth.
“That’s it, Ana. Consume it. All of it. He will not stop us. He cannot stop us.”
Markos gazes upon his dying father, his eyes rolling into the back of his head and legs shaking vigorously.
He’s dead — not dead.
Markos leans in, puffs up his chest, and whispers to his father, “I hate that you made me do this. All I wanted was your blessing.”
Gregos bites his lower lip, clenches his teeth, and says, “You are my undoing. The ancestors will avenge my death. The blood of old souls lives in me.”