I have been here before. I don't remember the little town with its depressed blocks of houses and empty roads. I don't remember that it was Korea. I do remember the Mountains and the pungent steam rising from the hot springs. I remember the Ice Valley that chills your bones even in the heat of summer and the spike of water cascading from the Paraeso Falls. I saw it once before with her.
I can see her standing by the silver grass, her little face upturned to the stars. She was radiant. The flesh of her arms seemed as if it could be soft to my touch; her huge black eyes almost seemed kind. I remember the rising tide of voices, the sudden snap of visions in which life after life flared to nothing, the throb of endless pleasure which suffused my weightless body and encroaching madness. I remember the blue smudge of her throat which was the center of all things. The way the sheer silk of her gown caught the scant breeze. My goddess.
I think that in a secret part of me I always knew that this demonic presence belonged to that time. I know it now although I have not discovered anything of its history or nature. It once was a powerful and ancient being, a vampire who once met its fiery demise here in the East of the world. It avoids me because it knows me. I was there. I was her Prince. I was her slave.
I'm tired. Even I feel the effects of long journeys in endless night. I feel belligerent and a little miserable and yet I'm steeled to this. I feel that something has come full circle and this is good.
I found it almost instantly. I have acknowledged what this thing is and I gain power over it.
I felt a vortex of power and drew myself close to it. There was nothing to see except what my soul could see. I sense a shimmering of spite. Perhaps it was my own.
I focused and sent out my voice to it. Speak, I said. I am here.
I don't know what I had expected, perhaps nothing.
It replied almost instantly without language but the message was infinitely clear.
Leave. Not welcome. Begone.
I know you, don't I? I said in my silent voice. I did. But who? Was I supposed to know? Speak to me! I commanded it. Why are you here?
I was met by silence again but suddenly I could smell the acrid scent of smoke, of flame and cracking bones and the drying smear of life.
My hands came up in defence before it hit me; a sudden blast of power like a desert storm. It flipped me clean off my feet and dashed me like a leaf on the rocky ground. The heat seared me to my core and then it was gone.