Callidora, The Gift of Beauty

Blinking slowly, I let my eyes adjust to the lights around me. Everything was blurry, unfocused. Shapes seemed to dance as I swiveled my gaze around the room I was in. It was suppose to be a familiar sight, as I’d spend years here, studying, poring over ancient tomes and texts. But I could only seem to make out the outlines of my treasured books. As I was feeling the fatigue of slumber leave my body, a realization dawned on me. I brought my hands up to my face, my thick rimmed glasses still fixed onto my head. A shiver ran through me when I gently took them off, closing my eyes in anticipation.

When I reopened them after setting them aside, everything became clear to me. Literally, in fact, as I could suddenly see with a clearness that I’d never experienced before. Excitement ran through me when I took in the room with my amplified senses. Not a piece of parchment was out of place since I’d last seen it, the night before, but somehow it seemed like I was taking it anew.  My cluttered desk, filled with time-worn documents on all matters of the occult, complemented with my own frantic scribbles. The walls hidden by sheets I’d drawn out, explaining puzzling rituals that the Regent had me study. I could make out all the little details, even from my current position.

The Regent. The thought of him stirred a whole new set of memories, of what led up to this moment. I’d always known that my rescue had been orchestrated by the same clan I now completely belonged to. They had given me everything. A new life, and a new name: Bożena Kwiatkowska. The Tremere’s goals were often beyond comprehension for anyone not within its highest ranks, so I never tried to questioned it. Instead, I made the most out of my new lease on life, giving my best both to serve the family I was adopted into, and to my studies. But not too long after I enrolled into the Oxford university to study Symbology, the Regent had taken a special interest in me.

I was never one to complain about the opportunity to learn, to explore and to experiment, so I took well to his personal tutelage. When he first showed me his magic, something I’d come to know as Thaumaturgy, or blood magic, I thought it to be an illusion of sorts. It wasn’t until he taught me to master it myself, that I started to understand just what kind of organization I was dealing with.

When I lived my life with my Revenant family, they never fully explained the elixirs I was given for ‘strength’. Questions were ignored, so I figured it some sort of medicine. During my time with the Regent, I’d come to understand the true power of the blood. A sect of vampires, or Kindred as they called themselves, dedicated to understanding the obscure magic of this world.

And now, I was one of them. Sired, by my tutor, the Regent, only the night before. It was a well prepared event, and he wanted me to fully comprehend several Thaumaturgy paths before he even considered the blessing. I should’ve felt afraid when I felt my own life essence flow from my body into his, but the allure of being able to study forever was stronger than anything else. Just before I felt my life leave me, he offered me his own blood. A ritual blade was sliced along his wrist, and I barely registered the thick liquid making it’s way down my throat, transforming my body.

Suddenly, I was eager to explore everything about my new senses. Quickly I hopped out of bed, marveling at the lack of vertigo, and made my way over to my desk. I ran my fingers along the leather of a book, enjoying the sensation. Picking up a different tome, I held it under my nose. Inhaling deeply, I felt as if I could smell the paper, the ink, the dust, all as individual aspects. The soft rustling of the pages as I leafed through it made my scalp tingle and my head buzz. Letting my eyes dart over the contents, an interesting documentation on Greek mythology, a single name stood out. Callidora, the gift of beauty.

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