Sir Leander Cross, at the urging of the father of the woman he wants to marry, heads to Florida to search out the Fountain. But what is the price of Eternal Life?
As the youngest son of an English lord, Leander was forced to either make his own way in the world, or enter the ministry. He had decided early on that the priesthood was definitely not for him, so now he was a quest in the New World for an aging Duke.
Leander swatted away another mosquito that buzzed around his head, and took another look at the map the Duke had provided him. Deep in the Florida swamps, he despaired of ever actually returning home, let alone finding the Fountain. Those that had accompanied him had slowly disappeared, one by one, into the vegetation never to be seen again.
Another mosquito, another swat and another look at the map. Days and days of this had Leander going crazy. He missed his homeland, his friends and the girl he wanted to one day call wife. Her father, the Duke, had sent him on this quest. /To the death now/, he decided.
The vegetation was thicker this part of the swamp, and Leander pulled a dagger from its leather holster to cut his way through. /Hack more like it/, he thought as he sliced through a vine. The lines on the map led him in deeper, and he hoped closer to the destination.
Finally, Leander broke through the vines into a clearing. There stood a Fountain surrounded by a ruins of a monastery. Could it be? He approached it on wary feet, and collapsed mere inches from it in exhaustion. His eyes closed in tiredness, and he fell into a deep sleep. His hand was just close enough to touch the rim of it.
Night came, and from the ruins stepped a woman. She looked down upon the traveler and laughed. Leander's tired eyes snapped open, and he looked at her. His hand reached for his sword as he sprang up from the ground and he stared at her.
"Lay thy weapon down, Sir Knight." The woman commanded. "You seek the waters?" She asked him, and her hands dipped into the water and gently drew a path down her cheek in a teasing caress.
Leander returned his sword to its scabbard and his eyes followed the hand as her fingers drew a trail from her face, neck and down the center of her gown. He almost gulped before replying. "I seek the waters."
"Why?" The woman asked, and her eyes grew hard. "Profit or self?"
"I am charged to bring back the waters to my Lord. For that I gain the hand of his daughter in marriage." Leander answered.
"The water is a two-edged sword, Sir Knight. For once obtained, it forever changes your life. What you once wanted could possibly be the last thing gained." The woman walked towards him, and her steps seemed to float. Her gown billowed around her, and he was entranced by the sight.
"I must have it." Leander spoke out forcefully, and held her gaze when she stood mere inches from him. Without thought, his hand reached out and his fingers traveled the path hers had on her. His head leaned to hers, and his lips captured hers.
"How faithless you are, Sir Knight." The woman murmured against his lips, and her hand wound around his neck and pulled him closer. "But tis my fault," Her lips made a passage down his chin to his neck.
"I must have it," Leander repeated, and drew her closer. In a lust-filled haze, he forgot all he was and what he truly wanted. "You... must have.."
"Freely given and received, Sir Knight?" The woman asked, and her breath caressed the nape of his neck. It was warm, and it sent a chill down his spine. Mindlessly he nodded.
"Words, my lord. I need words." The woman prodded him, and laved at his neck. She gently sucked at it, and waited.
"Freely," Leander whispered to the nameless woman. He felt her teeth brush his neck, and he sigh with pleasure. His eyes closed, and his head tipped back to give her access.
"What shall be, shall be." The woman invoked, and her teeth bite into him. The joy of fresh and freely given blood made it all the better. This one she would return the gift, she had decided.
Leander's eyes snapped back open, and a small groan of pain issued through his haze. What have I done? His mind cried out in despair. He had also heard tales of this. The hand that laid on her breast now registered the fact that her skin was cold, and no heartbeat throbbed through it.
Leander Cross was lost and reborn that evening. He felt his very essence leave him, and his eyes closed. The haze returned, and he fell to the ground.
"Open your eyes," The woman commanded, and Leander opened them slowly to gaze at her. Her nail drew a sharp red line down her chest. Her hands encircled his head and drew his lips to it. "Drink! Now before all is lost."
Leander's tongue licked at the trail, and his lips gathered around the dripping blood. Hungrily he feasted, drawing her essence into him. Her hands held him close, and she smiled. Her long fangs glistened in the moonlight, and his blood still lingered around her lips.
"Enough." The woman's hands pried his lips from her. "It is time to sleep now. It makes the rebirthing easier." She stood up, and offered her hand to him. Leander took it, and stood also. Like a child, he followed her into the ruins.