The Mirror Of Time
She felt the buzz, it meant that Death was near, embodied in another of her kind. For an instant she thought that she may meet her end there, but as she turned around, looking for her would-be killer, she could see nothing but an endless human tide that threatened to swallow her... no Immortal in his right mind would ever hunt there.
Being there was strangely familiar, far away so close from her own element.
For once the words had led her, they called her, they portrayed her nightmarish world better than she ever could. Somehow those words had gotten through to her, in spite of that blaring noise that surrounded them, a sound she dared not call music.
It was so simple they called, she followed. She followed them into an alien world that was a part of her own. She followed them into the realm of the man who, borrowing the name of a famous poet, had written those words.
He almost skipped a verse when he felt it. There was a presence near by, in the audience. No use in trying to spot him now, and besides, as the song goes, the show must go on. He surrendered to his music praying that this could be his last curtain call.
He never looked back as he walked off the stage, away from the only thing that had made him feel truly alive in a very long time.
He had been dancing with Death for centuries in an endless courtship. It was a union that he could never consummate as his mistress left him there, alone, naked and wanting, time and time again. But when he felt the presence of another of his kind, that feeling, that drone that was almost an echo of himself announcing the possibility of release, he fought. He fought to stay alive using every trick his mentor had taught him... and a few he had picked up on his own.
His eyes fell on the other Immortal. Not a he but a she... a very attractive she. Maybe he wouldn't be courting Death that night after all.
Their eyes met and she followed him into his dressing room. A couple of harsh words later they had been left alone. If nothing else, at least the members of his crew knew when to make themselves scarce.
Somehow he knew this woman, he was sure that he had seen her face before. That in itself was strange. Being unable to attach a name to a face wasn't unusual for him... he was rarely sober enough to remember them, but not being able to place an Immortal was an entirely different story. However when the woman introduced herself as Claudia Jardin everything made sense, even though he had not known her to be Immortal.
He tried to evaluate her, unsure of how to react. She had not stated her intentions, nor had she issued a formal challenge.
So he hadn't described her nightmarish world after all... he had described his own. For an instant she wondered what had the man who now stood before her been through, what he had seen. She smiled when she realized that, in spite of what everyone believed, he had not borrowed the poet's name after all.
"I have no sword." She said.
That took him by surprise. So this wasn't a challenge, but why would any Immortal admit to being without a sword, and why would an Immortal be without a sword to begin with? If she was looking for an executioner she had come to the wrong place.
He examined her more closely, realizing for the first time that she felt as young as she looked. A new one then. What could she possibly want from him, why had she sought him out?
She wanted answers but she could tell that she wouldn't find any. Not verbal ones at least, certainly not from the man who was standing in front of her. He was yet to utter a word, but she could easily see the despair in his eyes. She had no trouble recognizing it, it was similar to the one she saw in the mirror each morning, and she realized that, for that man at least, centuries had done nothing to deaden the pain. In spite of everything, having seen him on stage gave her a small measure of hope in a twisted way. It was apparent that he had somehow managed to turn his pain into something he could use, something that could replace the fear, something that could help him create.
That thought was a huge relief, and she realized that, in spite of the other's silence, she had found her answer, even if she could tell that, behind the pain, there was something disturbing lurking in his eyes.
Outside, a young man, a member of Byron's crew, was nervously pulling his sleeve as he tried to imagine what was happening behind that door. He had managed to snap a picture of the two Immortals together, some meager crumbs of evidence to remember what was an unbelievable encounter, an encounter he knew he would not be able to document properly. He smiled at the young woman who had followed Claudia at a prudent distance, trying not to be seen. Both he and the woman who approached him knew that, behind that door, two of the most remarkable Immortals were seeing themselves reflected in a mirror of time.