Hindsight Part II

Disclaimer: Has not changed since the first part.

It was not uncommon for princes to be sent away for schooling, and so it was the same for Vilos. At the age of thirteen, he was sent west to attend one of the finest schools that Europe could offer. Young Kiesha took it hard. Being a year his junior, and a slave, she did not have the luxury of attending the same type of school.

Her days immediately after his departure were filled with boredom and loneliness. Hau'Bri noticed her lackluster behaviors and decided to take matters into her own hands. With some trepidation, she approached the vampire sovereign himself. Her knock came at his study during the later hours when he had no more business to do with his generals.

"Enter, Hau'Bri."

Opening the door, the Egyptian woman quietly made her way to the large desk in the center of the chamber. "Master and Majesty, I have something I wish to ask of you."

The distinguished man looked at her solemnly, his red eyes pondering. "Speak and, if it is within my power, I will consider it." He folded his hands before him on the desk and sat back in his seat.

Hau'Bri nodded. "Young master Vilos has gone for his schooling. Now that he is away, Kiesha is having trouble coping with his absence."

"... And?"

"I would like permission to send Kiesha back to my people," Hau'Bri began softly. Her hands wrung themselves nervously together. "I would like to have her trained as a warrior priestess as I was. It would do her much good, I believe."

The sovereign looked at the slave woman carefully, his eyes unreadable. "So, you're asking me to send a slave to distant lands so that she can train in the use of weapons?" He waved her protests away. "Silence, Hau'Bri." When the mortal woman quieted, he gazed at her thoughtfully. "Your daughter is a kind soul, I know that she would never use her training on my son. Every man must have a weakness, and she is Vilos'."

He leaned forward. "She will be sent. It will be some time before my son returns and I do not wish to have a dhampire child around, lamenting his absence with every waking moment." He went back to work. "Prepare her for departure. She will leave in three days." With that, he went back to the work he was already doing.

Hau'Bri smiled and bowed, her demeanor completely changed with the news. She moved swiftly to her and her daughter's appointed chambers and began to pull together the child's possessions. The child feared the worst. {Mama?}

{Put your mind to ease, daughter... In three days, you return to my homeland,} the Oracle said lowly, her smile widening even more. {You shall train as a prophetess-warrior... like your mother.}

The girl's eyes widened. {Might I leave a letter... to be sent to Vilos?} There was a tone of hope in the softly-spoken voice that Hau'Bri couldn't resist. When her mother nodded, the young slave child ran for her quill and parchment.

She didn't even hear the door close behind her as the warrior-priestess left her to her writing.

"Dearest Vilos.

By the time you get this, I will be in my mother's homeland. Your father gave permission for me to train as she did. I will, by grace of the Gods, become an oracle to her people as she was. I'm so excited, Vilos. She has told me stories about her home, but now... I get to see for myself.

When you return from your schooling abroad, I will be sent for. In so many ways, I wish it wasn't like this... but we must be as our stations force us to be. I miss you terribly.

Something mother told me once, I find it rather funny now... In her homeland, it isn't uncommon for princes to marry the Oracle-Priestesses of our people. I hope, in the future, if that should happen to me, that I find a prince as kind and intelligent as you are. Maybe then, I can be the happiest girl in the world.

Well, I think that is all for now. You'll have to forgive the almost musing way this went. Mother woke me from a sound sleep and I'm not completely roused yet. Know that I'll be praying to the Gods for your welfare and safety.

Faithfully yours,


Vilos looked up from the letter, a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding escaping him. So, his father was letting her go somewhere away from that life. The young prince had wanted, too many times to count, to give the woman and her daughter their freedom.

Each and every time, however, his father had forbade it.

He'd thought that he might do so before he left, but, when he'd broached the subject with Hau'Bri, she'd hear nothing of the sort. Flat out refused to listen to his pleadings that they have better lives. Vilos had nearly torn his mahogany hair out in frustration.

Even now, a month after he'd left, he could see those dark eyes, the color of Spanish chocolate, staring at him and full of laughter. He missed those eyes. He missed the warm feelings that the slave girl evoked within him. At the academy, there was no such thing to look forward to. He was a prince of the vampire sovereign and he would be taught how to be strong so that he might be able to stand on his own.

The prince wanted nothing more than to curl up next to the slave girl, like they used to on the cold winter nights, and listen to her soft voice as she read aloud whatever book she happened to be devouring. Once he'd taught Kiesha how to read, she practically tore through the royal library and consumed each available page like a starving man left to watch a butcher's shop. To know that he'd stimulated so much hunger for knowledge in her young life...

Outside his dorm, the bells rang out, alerting all the students that they were due for their instructions. Vilos carefully folded the letter and tucked it into his journal. There would, of course, be a response to the missive. He would just have to attend to it later, when he wasn't due for fencing tutelage.


The academy is not nearly so pleasant as your company. Over the last three years, I have come to realize just how much I relished the time we were inseparable. I've changed so much since I came here...

The earring you sent was beautifully crafted. I'm almost certain I recognize your handiwork in the piece. I'll feel very much the fool if I come to find that you didn't have a damn thing to do with its creation. Even if you didn't, I still wear it proudly. How many other nobles here can honestly say that those enslaved to them, regardless of the 'master's' wishes, care enough to send them gifts while they are off to learn?

It still pains me, Kiesha. I wish for you and Hau'Bri to be free. I don't want you tied to the bloody crucible that I'll be returning to. I'm not blind or deaf... I've heard the stirrings of war beginning to sound. I don't want you, either of you, in the middle of that.

Hau'Bri came with father this last Yule. I was so desperate for the relief of seeing family. Father said he was concerned that all this time around the humans has made me too much like them. Behind his back though, I could see the approval on your mother's face. It's sad to think that I look for hers more than my own father's anymore. I never knew my mother... I hope it isn't presumptuous of me to 'borrow' yours?

Kiesha... I do have one thing to say about Hau'Bri. Your mother would be a holy terror with the sword once she got back into practice. She tested me herself to 'see if the school was noteworthy'. I think I passed, but you can never be too sure with that woman. Even if *she* wasn't impressed, after getting dumped on my ass more than once, *I* was.

When I get home, I'm going to make a nuisance of myself until she teaches me those tricks. Just one more year... I hope I can be patient. Regardless of everything else, I'm counting the days until my time here is done.


Vilos D.

Oh, and before I forget, congratulations on your new appointment. Am I to grovel at your delicate feet the next time we should see each other? Or will a strong embrace be enough for you, Keeper of Visions?

Smiling to herself, Kiesha tucked the letter into her sleeve and reasserted her attention to the morning prayer. Truthfully, she should not have been reading it during the rituals, but she had really been looking forward to word from the prince.

'Three years gone...'

When all the priestesses were released, Kiesha immediately went to her chamber to get out of her robes. Of all the training she received at the temple, the young woman loved weapons instruction the best. The khopesh was a difficult sword to master, the greatest challenge to the young women there, but she was already further in skill than most of her temple-sisters.

Kiesha had to admit that she liked the change his letters indicated. Instead of the sad, lonely boy she'd tended to in their youth, he seemed to have gotten a sense of humor on top of Gods knew what else. Did his time away bring out the hidden beauty that her mother had claimed was within?

She tucked those thoughts aside. If she wasn't quick, she would have to end her practice early so that she would be ready when the Oracle sent for her. The young dhampire woman fought her best, matching each of the temple general's blows and even delivering a few solid attacks of her own. Kiesha cursed herself when time ran over and she was called.

As Keeper of Visions, it was the young woman's place to write down everything that the Oracle said during her trances. Kiesha's job was very important. She had to be perfect in her scribing - one incorrectly written word could completely change the meaning of a vision.

Her inherent speed ensured that she wasn't too late and she winced as she walked into the Oracle's Chamber of Visions. The older woman smiled at her. "Don't despair... I'll not take you to task for tardiness."

"Thank you, Oracle." The dhampire priestess knelt down on the cushions next to her superior. Kiesha kept her head bowed until a gentle hand threaded fingers through her long, black hair.

"You're in love with him."

Kiesha's head snapped up. "What?"

The Oracle smiled softly, having already seen the truth in the words she'd just uttered. "The prince... you're in love with him."

"I can't... I haven't seen him in nearly three years, Oracle. I can't be in love with him." The dhampire girl shook her head. "Besides... it's not as if anything can be done... I'm as low in station as he is high."

Shaking her head, the older woman gave Kiesha a stern look. "Love has a way of breaking through barriers, young one. In time, after you've gone from here, the prince will come to you."

The girl's heart beat quicker, but she carefully schooled the look on her face. "That would be a foolish risk for him."

"Masters can do as they wish with their slaves, Kiesha. When he comes to you... it will not be as the prince, but as a man who's heart is in full knowledge as to what it wants. Would you deny both him and yourself?" The Oracle's hand went under the girl's chin, forcing their gazes to meet. "Would you deny the chance to give yourselves something that you both need and desire?"

"I couldn't bear to lose him, Oracle." Tears glimmered in Kiesha's dark eyes. "That would be akin to ripping out my own heart..."

"Know this, dear girl," the older priestess said gently, "that, in time, you will lose him. The loss will only serve to strengthen what you both shall feel... it will make it more precious and priceless... it will give you the resolve you need... until the passion that burns within you both can not be contained."

The Oracle paused in speaking, making sure her next words would be heard clearly. "At that time, Fate and the Gods will bring you both together again... so that you can reclaim what will be stolen from you."

Throwing open the door of his dorm, Vilos' blue eyes spied the wax-sealed letter on his bed. He dove for it, breaking the elaborate seal without a second thought. He'd seen the design and knew instantly who it was from.

He devoured the words within hungrily. It seemed like it took forever to get missives back and forth between Europe and Egypt. Already, he was only a few short months away from the end of his Academy time. By the time his response got to Kiesha, he would be home again - finally.


I thought it was supposed to be the other way around? That I should be the one groveling at *your* feet? Ah, well, I like the idea of an embrace much better. Would it be improper for me to say that I hate the view from down low? Most of the nobles that visited your father in the past had terrible fashion sense when it came to their feet.

Mother sent a letter telling me that you'll be home soon and that any responses I give should be sent to the palace. So, this is the last letter you'll get from me while at the Academy.

I'm a full fledged oracle-priestess now. In fact, my time here is almost done. There's nothing more for me to learn at the temple. I should be home shortly after you arrive.

Which brings me to something that I've found myself thinking about more and more. Just what will I be doing for you when I get back? I am still, by law, your slave. I know how much you despise the reminding, but it is something that needs careful consideration. I daresay we're too old to play in the forests like we did as children.

I have gained many skills during my tenure here. I'm sure something I've learned will serve you well. If nothing else, I could be a bodyguard to you should you ever need it. I know that our odd relationship is not as our stations dictate, but still... we have been friends for a long time. I hope that my return to your side doesn't cause that to change. I fear I would be heartbroken if I could not be with you as I was in the past.

Of all the nobles I ever dealt with, only you, Vilos, were the one to let me truly be myself when we were alone. I don't want to lose that. You were the only true friend I've ever had and I pray that it hasn't changed in the last three years.

Take some time and think about it. We can discuss it further when I return. I can't wait to see you again. Mother says you've gotten so tall... I've grown, too. But you'll see that for yourself when I get there.



Rolling over in his bed, the prince blew dark locks of hair from his face. Like his body, it had grown over the years, retaining a silken texture despite the fact that he'd not thought to have it trimmed. The benefits of his heritage.

His mind worked in circles at the question in her letter. Just what *would* Kiesha be when they were together again? He couldn't very well delegate her to the keeping of his chambers, could he?

"Damn you, Kiesha... why did you have to bring this up now?" He sat up, his eyes closing momentarily. In truth, through the letters, he'd grown more attached to the girl than he'd been originally. Her written words were an anchor for him during the long stretches of time that he spent fighting his dark urges.

When it seemed that he could hear every pulse of life under the skin of his school-mates, all Vilos had to do was think of the slave girl he'd known and they would silence themselves. She lent him strength when he thought he had none. She gave him hope when he thought there would be no salvation for himself.

All these things she did, without even trying, just by caring about him enough to write the letters. What strength could he borrow, then, when she was near... her voice clear in his ears and her dark eyes right in his vision? Would she still be able to curb those darker needs that rose in attempt to overwhelm him when he thought he was at his weakest?

Hau'Bri had to slap the long fingered hands out of her way several times as she stood before the prince, buttoning up his waistcoat. "Majesty... You're too excited. Let me do this and be still." Her smirk was hidden. "You remind me of Kiesha back when you were both still children... when she would fuss as I straightened her clothes."

Throwing his hair back, Vilos let out a sigh. "I've been waiting for this day for far too long..."

"So has she, prince," the woman affirmed gently. "One would think you were expecting an empress with all the care you are taking in your appearance." Hau'Bri smoothed down the front of the velvety material. "There... as handsome as a prince should be."

Vilos straightened up, looking down at the woman, trepidation in his crystal blue gaze. "Will she be pleased?"

The slave woman shook her head, thinking to herself that the young man was behaving more like a youth waiting for his sweetheart. "I think you could greet her in small clothes and her reaction would be the same, Vilos... though she might blush very prettily at the notion."

His head cocked to the side, some distant noise drawing a smile from him. "She's here!" Vilos turned and nearly ran from the bedchamber, his long dark hair streaming behind him. Down the stairs, his boots thundering as he went, he bolted for the door.

Once he was outside, he stood at the foot of the front stairway and waited, trying so hard not to fidget. Kiesha was home... how he'd been waiting for this day! Vilos sought out the carriage as it wound its way to the palace and found it closer than he'd originally hoped.

It was all he could do not to rip the carriage door from its hinges when it stopped before him. He stood, perfectly still, trying not to let his excitement show on his face. When the young woman Vilos had been expecting opened the door, he couldn't stop his mouth from opening in shock.

Kiesha had, indeed, matured during the more than three year parting. She was tall and willowy, with dusky skin that looked both soft and smooth. Her hair flowed down around her face, framing it beautifully. What truly caught Vilos' attention, though, was her dark gaze as it locked on him. He suddenly found himself short of breath.

It took him a moment to gather his wits enough to reach out and take her delicate looking hand as she stepped down. Without waiting for words, he pulled her to him in as strong a hug as he ever gave. Vilos caught the faintest scent of jasmine from her hair as he held her and then he found relief as her own strong arms wound around his back and waist.

"Welcome home, Kiesha," he whispered in those precious moments. So much more that he wanted to say, but the prince bit his tongue. The young woman in his embrace was both his strength and weakness and he found that all he wanted to do at the moment was hold her until eternity passed them both.

Her whispered answer greeted him. "Thank you for the welcome... I'm happy to be back." Kiesha's arms seemed to tighten on him and he answered that by burying his face in her dark silken locks.

They pulled back enough to get a good look at each other's faces. Vilos couldn't help the desire to kiss her, but as he moved to do so, a voice interrupted them both. He nearly growled in frustration at it.

"Save enough of her for me to greet, prince." Hau'Bri chuckled as she came out the front doors. He relinquished the girl so that she could be properly greeted by her mother, though he found himself longing for that embrace again.

Awakening earlier than usual, Vilos went to look for Kiesha. She was not to be found in her rooms, he quickly surmised when his knocks went unanswered. It didn't take much longer to realize that she was also not in the palace. It was still dark outside, so there weren't many places she could have gone, he knew.

The prince donned a royal blue velvet jacket, the color was one of her favorites on him, and went to the stables to see if he could find her. His six and a half foot frame glided smoothly as he walked the horse out to the open and then he swung up into the saddle.


Dark hair flowing behind him, he galloped over the countryside, searching for the young woman. Kiesha had only just returned from her schooling in the last week and he wanted to spend some time with her. He needed to hear her voice again, so accustomed to it as he'd become in the past few days.

She stood at the top of the hill, nearly a mile away, her midnight hair spilling over the breezes. Vilos' breath caught at her beauty. In the time she'd been gone, her childish innocence had become a beauty the likes of which he'd never before seen. His eyes were riveted to the picture she presented, as if she'd been sculpted by the hands of some kind God.

Slowly, he dismounted and moved up the side path towards her. His auburn hair was caught up by the wind and carried to the side, pulling at the ribbon with which he'd secured it. The higher he climbed, the fiercer the tug was, until the swath of blue silk was torn from him. So engrossed in the sight before him as he was, the prince never noticed.

"I heard you," she whispered gently as he moved to stand beside her. "Why do you seek me out at such a late hour, my Lord?"

"Why are you calling me by my title when I was once just 'Vilos' before?"

Kiesha turned to him, a sadness in her eyes that he wanted to sooth away. "I've grown accustomed to titles in the last few years... They're not so distasteful to me."

"To hear them spill from your lips is distasteful to me, Kiesha... never call me that... please." He reached out, catching a stray lock of silken darkness and tucking it behind her ear. "We've not had much time to talk since you got back."

"Your father is grooming you while trying to keep his traitorous advisors off his back. I think he does not see himself surviving this coming battle." She looked out in the distance. "I have seen glimpses of the future... but I can't stop the coming tides of darkness."

His arm slipped over her shoulders. "It isn't your responsibility, Kiesha. No one person can stop a war... no matter how much they've seen of the future." Vilos pulled her against his side, noting happily that she came to him willingly and without even a hint of resistance.

Tears began to streak down her face. "So much will happen... I'm afraid, Vilos... afraid of things I don't understand." Kiesha turned to him suddenly. "Soon, all we know will be torn from us... But, before that happens... I have to tell you-"

Her words were silenced by the gentlest of kisses on her moist lips. Vilos had to take away those tears, but he didn't know how. His hands moved up, caressing the sides of her face tenderly, as he sought out the best angle with which to taste her.

It wasn't long before her mouth flowered open like a bloom to the sunlight. Kiesha tasted of honey, sweet and tangy all at once. The flavor invited him to partake of even more and he dipped his tongue between her lips, seeking out the source. A soft moan escaped her and her arms encircled his chest, holding him to her desperately.

They stood so for, what was to them, forever, before parting silently. The young couple remained locked in their embrace, however, seeking warmth and comfort. Vilos let his head come forward to rest against hers. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse and unsure.

"Kiesha... when I was at the academy... not a single day passed that thoughts of you didn't go through my mind." He didn't know how to say it. Whatever it was that was lodged so deep in his heart as to never let him go would not present itself for words. Then, she spoke the very words that he knew were the answer to what he was feeling.

"I love you, Vilos... No matter what may happen, never forget that."

He looked into her eyes and saw the truth in her words. Taking a deep breath, he whispered back. "Kiesha... I would sooner die than be parted from you again. I am, for the first time in my life, pleased about my heritage... It means that I can have forever in your arms." Vilos pressed his lips to her forehead in a tender kiss.

"My life and my heart are yours for eternity."

Part III
Back to VHD Fanfiction
Back to the Index