Michael could hardly concentrate on his farm tasks, for his head felt strangely light. He noticed Gwen and Livia had haunted looks on their faces, as well. Golden's eyes remained as bulged as they were earlier, and he was rendered speechless. He dropped everything he picked up.|
''Where's Sebastian?'' Michael wondered. ''Do any of you see Sebastian?'' No, none of them had. ''Maybe he's taking a bath, he mentioned 'needing a bath','' Gwen suggested. ''NOW? When work needs to be done? He could take his bath LATER!'' Livia announced angrily.
The night and its tasks progressed towards dawn, and there was no show by Sebastian. After everyone, rather exhausted from having to do more work than usual, settled back in the house, and were sitting down resting with mugs of water, Sebastian bashfully emerged. ''Well, that's just fine and dandy of you, showing up now, Sebastian, now that the WORK is done!'' Livia hurled at him.
Sebastian seemed to duck a little as he apologized, ''Sorry!'' But he offered no more clues than that. ''Mysterious,'' Michael thought, and his eyes followed him, trying to ferret something out with the 'mind gift'. His searchings were met with a blank wall.
Then Sebastian sought the still petrified Golden out, and they went to Golden's bedroom. Sebastian seemed especially enamorous and desirous of cuddling. His heart was pounding, although he focused his attention on soothing Golden. ''I've promised you more of my blood. Now is a very good time to give you some,'' And with that, he aligned his body parallel with Golden's, gently bent Golden's head back, and fastened his mouth to Golden's neck.
Golden's eyes lost their glassy stare, as the strangely exhilarating blood bits entered him. He thought in wonder, ''Sebastian's embryos seem more powerful than they had before. Is this merely my imagination? But I feel so much stronger than I did. It's curious . . .'' He heard Sebastian speaking within his mind, ''Say not one word of it to ANYone. Not one word, sweetheart!'' He then returned his attention to Golden's neck, gently kissing where he had punctured it earlier. Golden was mystified, but hopeful.
Meanwhile, Seb gave no clue about his disappearance. He would need to 'disappear' again. It was hard keeping mum about his secret plans. But it was essential, for all to go as it needed to. Lucius would meet him again, and this time he would be taken to the sacred vessels themselves for more training and blood deposits from the most powerful source of all. Lucius had been only able to partially train him. To really deceive a vampire as old as Sardok required mastery.
The next evening, he waited in a shadowy spot far from the busy farm. They would be mad at him for disappearing, but this would work to further his great deception, that of convincing everyone he had chosen to side with Sardok. Lucius came, Seb held on tight, and they were whisked to a remote beach. He could not guess on which continent. The stony faced guard examined him, before ushering him to the next stony faced guard. Three guards in sequence guarded the great iron gate behind which the sacred vessels resided.
He learned this place was covered not only with lead, but some other top-secret substances that make their detection impossible. No one got in that wasn't supposed to. Lucius and Seb followed another guard down a narrow passageway that led to a large chamber. It was pleasantly lit, not too garishly bright, as is the custom of poorly sighted humans, but neither the shadowy cover of a vamp wishing to hide his details. Lovely potted plants grew tall, in lush display. They received controlled sunlight through special sky lights which channeled the sun directly to them, as well as giving additional light to the chamber.
Seb could not recall being in a place which felt so wonderful and peaceful. Finally he was brought before the two vessels, one male and one female. It was hard to imagine they were 6000 years old. Each of them glowed with a seeming supernatural radiance. Yes, they appeared as gods.
''No, we are not gods, just the vessels. Though we understand what you mean,'' the beautiful woman addressed Seb. She wore a loose dark green robe, trimmed in elaborate banding at the bottom hem, and a narrower version at the bottom of the full sleeves. Her reddish hair lay in loose folds around her face. His style of dress was much the same. Although they both enjoyed lush fabrics, they weren't trying to impress anyone. They did not sit on anything resembling a throne, but rather on well padded tapestry covered reclining armchairs. They were about comfort. Beside each chair, to the outward side, was a well polished wooden endtable, with a goblet of ice water and a vase of fresh flowers. It was just the right touch of elegance and refinement. Off to the side, Seb could see a huge TV was resting on a sturdy rolling cart.
''The vessels watch TV, like any mortal!'' He wasn't sure just why they wouldn't. There were various other rooms of their abode, the open doors giving evidence to what lay beyond them. One room held a large indoor swimming pool. One room looked like a temple, and two puffy meditation pillows sat in the center of it, awaiting their peaceful contemplation.
Indeed, this whole place felt more serene than anywhere Seb had ever been. ''Are you ready to begin your training,'' Irisena asked, smiling at Sebastian. ''Yes, ma'am,'' he replied nervously.
''Do not be nervous. You will receive the blood first, then you will be able to make better use of the lessons,'' she said kindly. ''Follow me!'' She gestured for Seb to follow, and he was surprised she led him to the temple room.
She bade him lie down, with his head resting on one of the pillows. Zaksher, the male vessel, sounded a gong with great precision, several times. Sebastian found himself growing calmer. When he looked into Irisena's deep aqua blue eyes, as she bended low to him, he was not startled. He found himself breathing slowly and deeply. He was scarcely aware of a prick to his neck. He was scarcely aware of her slender reed making its insertion.
Once the blood bits began entering his blood stream, he was transported to a place of reverie. Golden, happy thoughts embraced him. Peaceful scenes of ancient jungles soothed his spirit. A world in harmony, a world the way it should be . . .
Just then he felt the severing of the link. ''No, no, I want more,'' he begged. ''It was so wonderful, so joyous, I want to be in that place again!''
''You can create for yourself, that place of beauty,'' Irisena instructed. ''How?'' Seb begged, becoming somewhat frantic.
Irisena took Sebastian's hands and helped him stand. Once he was standing, she looked him in the eyes, ''This will be part of your training. In addition, you will learn how to cloak your mind, how to send your thoughts out to beings who are not near to you, speed in self-defense, defense against mental attacks by other vampires . . .''
Seb interrupted, ''You mean Sardok's threat of 'cremating all of us with a single thought'?'' Irisena patiently explained, ''Yes, against the calling of incineration is exactly what I mean. The extremely powerful vampire has the ability to address the blood beings within a weaker vampire and command them to self-destruct. With the proper mental shielding, you can prevent this . . .''
Seb interrupted again, ''Will I be able to incinerate, if necessary?'' Irisena smiled, indulging her impatient student again, ''We have not decided yet if that will be necessary. Rest assured, all that you will need to defend against Sardok, and call the council, at the appropriate time, you will have. You will know when it is the appropriate time. You will need to gain Sardok's trust, so that he lowers his guard. We will train you in all steps. Let us go now to the classroom!''
With that, she led Sebastian to the spacious classroom. As they passed the swimming pool room on the way, Seb was surprised to see Lucius stripped to his skin, and doing laps. He was smiling, obviously enjoying himself.