Never Fall In Love
Samael’s Fall From Grace
It was a cold night as shadowed clouds blocked the illuminant shine of the moon overhead. Small frosted white flakes of snow had just begun to drift down from the sky, lightly dusting the streets and buildings with a soft blanket of the winter’s first storm. Muttering a few curt words, Samael jumped over a frozen puddle that blocked his way on the narrow sidewalk, roughly pulling his worn brown cloak tighter around his shoulders. A man couldn’t have wished for worse weather on this night. Samael had made a promise to a very special lady that nothing would mar the arrangements he had planned. Of course, Camilla would never speak an ill word about snow. Camilla loved the seasons, from every bird that sang in the spring to every flake of crystallized water that fell in the winter. There was not a single woman in all of London that could make Samael Norse turn his head from his work, or a flower as sweet as his Camilla.
“Ho! Doc! Slow up, a bit!”
Samael resisted the guttural growl that threatened to escape and deemed it inappropriate to take off in a sprint at the sound of the young man. Johnathon Morris, a good fourteen years his junior was much like a fly constantly buzzing in his ear. If it weren’t brawls at the local slums it was ridiculous stories of vampires or giant hell beasts with long sharp teeth and rancid breath. The Morris whelp dressed himself in the most dandy of fashions, in Samael’s old-fashioned mindset, and yet could drink any man under a table. More than once Samael had patched the boy up after one of his scrapes and listened to his farfetched stories of demons walking the night. Perhaps if her were not such a lush, Morris could have made a career of writing novels instead of constantly plaguing the doctor with his nonsense.
Reluctantly Samael slowed his steps and stopped, turning around to face the young man whom looked as if he had just had a nasty fight with a stray dog in the streets. An eyebrow of curiosity rose, but he quickly brushed away all wonderment at the Morris and assumed his typical scowl. “What perilous plight have you gotten yourself in to now, Morris? I am quite bus-”
“Have a little Faith, Doc!” Johnathon Morris beamed a wide self-satisfied grin as she shoved his hands in to his designer stitched coat and rocked back and forth on his heels. He had the look of a cat that had just caught the neighbor’s canary.
The corner of Samael’s eye gave a slight twitch at the sound of ‘Doc’. He detested that nickname with a passion. “Well, spit it out. I am to meet… someone.” Though it was likely Morris knew of Camilla either by acquaintance or by rumor, Samael did not wish to spend any longer than necessary making explanations.
Morris only sufficed in grinning wider. “I have an amazing opportunity for you, Doc. The partner to the greatest occultist in London- heck! The world!”
“Have you gone daft!?” Samael howled. He shook an angry finger at the young man as tendrils of pitch black hair fell in to his eyes. “First off, the occult is a myth chattered about by bored schoolboys and highly imaginative children. Second, I refuse to baby sit and coddle a man who has refused to grow up and realize demons and such are mere fairy tales and spends his time boozing in the local pub instead of working an honest profession!”
Johnathon wrinkled up his nose in mild disappointed as he removed his hands from his coat and crossed them over his chest. “Is that a ‘no’?”
Samael motioned forward as if to strangle the younger man and Johnathon took several steps back as he threw up his hands in defense. “Have a heart, Doc- okay alright!” When Samael didn’t stop his advancements Johnathon scampered off down the sidewalk giving a flippant wave of his hand. “Have it your way, Doc! When I’m an amazing occultist and you’re just some stuffy old man, don’t come crying to me when no one remembers your name!”
Scoffing at the threat, Samael brushed errant snowflakes from his shoulder as he turned and continued down the sidewalk. The whelp was an arrogant fool. Perhaps even if his demons and creatures of darkness were real and true, Samael highly doubted he’d he would waste his time partnering with a complete buffoon. A slight curve of a smile graced his lips as he imagined the boy drunkenly fighting off a hoard of vampires. He’d likely escape with sheer luck and blindingly light the beasts to flame and take credit as if that were his plan all along. Refusing to waste another thought on Morris, Samael trudged on to the small manor home of his beloved Camilla.
* * * * * * * * * *
Samael stepped in to the parlor of the miniature London manor, admiring the warm old-fashioned style of the furniture and the sweet scent of cinnamon mixed with the smell of burning embers. The Rosewood home was a particular delight to him. Soft and feminine like it’s Lady, with small details of her handwork spread around the house. It was so much more comfortable than the cramped rooms of his own home, where there was little room left to walk amongst the books and trinkets that littered the place. The elusive scent of Camilla’s perfume drifted to his nose along with the sound of coming footsteps. He turned with a brilliant smile to greet his beloved but it quickly vanished as he saw the look of pain in her rich brown eyes. Immediately he crossed the expanse of the room, clasping her hands in his with a look of concern.
“Camilla, darling, what ever could be wrong?” He asked softly bringing her cold pale hands to his lips. For a moment he thought she might’ve taken ill, and was ready to order her to bed for rest, but she looked up in to his eyes smiling apologetically.
“Oh, my love… I am so, so sorry.” She shook her head as her voice broke, finding it difficult to say the words. Samael was patient as he held her hands, giving a reassuring smile. Taking in a deep breath she spoke again. “Your sister, Lucille. She has… passed on.”
A long excruciating silence followed as the seconds ticked by. So stunned by the news Samael stared down at Camilla with a blank unreadable expression, until finally he slowly returned to the present. “How… when?” He managed to croak out only a barely of a fraction above a whisper.
Camilla brushed a cool hand gently across his cheek. “The messenger had stopped by your home first, and the valet instructed him you would be here.” Carefully, Camilla guided Samael towards the soft plush sofa near the fire and bade him to sit. Soothingly she stroked his cheek and patted his hand, watching as the dozens of emotions flittered across his face like a battered ship in a storm. “If was some few days ago, the letter said. Cold complications…”
“Complications?!” Samael bawled loudly as he suddenly jumped from his seat with a start. “Cold complications?! What preposterous and ill-founded assessment is that! What healthy full grown woman dies from a cold!” With a leashed curbed anger, Samael paced back and forth in front of the orange flames in the hearth. His eyes were glittering a bright green as he wrung his hands, a fierce confused scowl across his face.
“Please, Samael. I could not possibly know, it is just what the letter said.” Camilla quietly replied, worried over her beloved’s reaction to the news. Samael was not a violent man, or even a temperamental one. He had always been like a solid reliable mountain, shielding her danger and protecting her from pain. She wanted desperately to do the same for him in such a difficult time.
Samael’s face suddenly softened as he quit his pacing and sank back down in to the cushions of the sofa. He brushed the golden blonde curls from Camilla’s beautiful porcelain face. Never did he want to hurt her or have her worry. “I am sorry, dear Camilla. I did not mean to…” He sighed deeply as he gathered her in to his arms and held her close, allowing her nearness to calm his nerves and bring him back to reality. His sister was dead. His sweet darling Lucille, the only one left of their family since their parents had passed away some years ago. Being a doctor, cold complications sounded like a ridiculous unbelievable reason for one’s death. He somehow felt there was more to it than just that. The only way he would know for sure was to go to the country and see for himself.
Placing a gentle kiss on Camilla’s forehead, he slowly loosened his embraced and looked down in her eyes. Tonight he had planned to ask for her hand in marriage, but now… Now there were things he needed to be sure of before he could allow himself to bring Camilla in to his troubles. He wanted to share his life with her, but he did not want to give her his pain.
“Camilla, I must go to see my sister and attend to her funeral.” Samael lamented.
“Let me go with you, Samael. I could be ready in only a few moments.” Camilla replied with earnest, not wanting him to be alone in his grief.
Samael slowly shook his head. “I must go alone. There is something I need to do.”
Camilla opened her rose tinted mouth to reply, but thought better of it and sighed. It was never a simple task to change the man’s mind when he had made it up, and perhaps he did need time alone to deal with the death of his dear sister. “Alright. But, please come back to me soon?”
He smiled sadly brushing a soft kiss across her lips. “I will. I promise.” With a last goodbye, Samael left the peaceful Rosewood home and quickly made for the country.
* * * * * * * * * *
Rain. Cold hard gloomy smatterings of rain fell from the heavens like a torrent of tears, as if the angels themselves were mourning the passing of one of their own. Lucille was surely like an angel amongst mortals with such a classic beauty of the heart and soul. Samael rode in silence on his pale chestnut mount, the rain making the roads too slick and dangerous with mud and icy slush to take a quicker gait. All the former serenity of the snowfall had left, leaving the dismal grimy slush as the rain came pouring down. He was soaked to the bone, but Samael could not let himself stop and rest until he reached the home of Alfred Grottingsby. There was a detestable taste left in his mouth every time he thought about the weasel-like man, enough to make Samael want to spit at the mere thought of him. Slight feelings of regret tugged at the back of his mind. He had warned Lucille not to marry the bastard, he had even had gone so far to say he’d disown her. Had he known what would have become of his dear sister…
His horse stumbled in the muddy slush and quickly righted itself; jarring Samael from the road his thoughts had taken him. He had warned her at least. If the silly girl chose not to listen to him, he could not be faulted for that. Still, he loved his Lucille dearly and her death weighed heavily on him. Lucille was a lovely young girl with hair the color of deep ebony and the same sparkling teal eyes they inherited from their mother. There were many high society men that had asked for her hand, but she had chosen the very one Samael forbade her against. A slight ironic smile graced his lips. Lucille had a stubborn rebellious streak. Playing against that might’ve just been his biggest mistake.
Ahead a stone and limber cottage came in to view, Samael guided his steed on to the cobblestone path that led up to the house. Someone inside must have noticed his arrival as he could see light and fluttering at the windows. Reaching the front steps, Samael quickly dismounted as the front door of the cottage swung open and slammed before his feet could hit the ground. Standing at the top of the steps, his brother-in-law stared down at him with a deep-set scowl of disapproval. He was wearing a ridiculously fancy lounging coat and his hair was tussled as if he had just roused himself from bed.
“What in hell are you doing here at this hour, Norse.” Alfred looked down his nose at the older man with obvious contempt. He made no move to leave the steps or even welcome his brother by marriage sanctuary from the weather.
Samael glared back at the man with an equally loathsome look. Had he not feared Alfred would lower himself to coward’s standards and cry for the law, Samael would have happily leapt up the steps and wrung his neck. “I have come to see Lucille and arrange for her funeral.”
Alfred snorted in reply. “I have taken care of everything, not that I imagined you would dare come here after disbarring your dear sister from your life! Be gone, Norse!”
“No!” Samael called as Alfred turned his back to him and started for the door. “Don’t you dare walk away from me, Grottingsby! I demand to see my sister! I refuse to believe such ludicrous reasons as cold complications for her death!”
The stout man on the steps visibly paled, though it seemed he quickly regained his wits and composure before discounting Samael’s accusations. “How dare you come here and accuse me of such! The woman is dead let her body lay to rest!”
Samael narrowed his eyes in suspicion as he angrily ran his hands through his sodden hair. He had not missed the pale pallor of Grottingsby skin, or the way his body suddenly tensed. “I want to see her. Now.”
With hands placed on his hips, Alfred sneered down at the older man. “You have not my permission, Norse. And we both know that is my right as husband. Shall we bring in the constable and make a big to-do over the dead body of dear Lucille?”
Gritting his teeth it was all Samael could do to keep from killing the man on the spot. He did not doubt Alfred would make good on his threats, not only harming Samael, but making a mockery of Lucille’s name. Samael could not let any harm come to his sister, even in death. With a loud venomous growl that didn’t even come close to expressing his true anger, Samael remounted his horse and charged his way back to London.
* * * * * * * * * *
It had been a week since Samael left London to see his deceased sister and he now returned with a dim expression. He knew deep down, there was more to Lucille’s death than a simple cold. Alfred had acted much too strange when questioned. Samael had hoped even Grottingsby wasn’t so cold-hearted as to not let a man see his own flesh and blood. Shouts on the street up ahead drew Samael from his dreary thoughts. He drew his horse closer and near immediately he recognized the frantic voice of the Morris whelp.
“What in God’s name is going on here, Morris!” Samael announced his presence rather loudly. There were two or three unrecognizable persons milling around besides Johnathon Morris whom was standing over a fallen form. As he dismounted and to get a better look at the injured party he sucked in a sudden shocked breath. “Good God…”
Johnathon looked up startled at Samael, and quickly tried to explain. “A demon attacked the carriage. I had no idea it was Camilla. God, Samael if only I had known!”
“Silence!” the older man hissed as he knelt down next to the fallen body of his Camilla. He didn’t want to hear the excuses or reasoning of the stupid Morris boy! There was blood, so much blood… but she was breathing! Perhaps there was hope! Samael pulled her in to his arms, gently cradling her head. Slowly Camilla opened her eyes and gave such a soft weak smile, Samael could feel his insides churn with pain.
“My love…” she breathed no louder than a whisper, giving a wince as a sharp stab ached in her chest. “It was such… a horrible beast. The footman is gone, and I…”
Samael shook his head. “Shush, beloved. I will make you well.” Lifting Camilla up in to his arms, he was careful not to jostle her too badly, still unsure of the extent of her injuries. Nearby, Johnathon Morris still lurked, silent as Samael spoke to Camilla. The Doctor paid him no mind, even leaving his own horse behind and his walked steadfastly back towards the Rosewood manor.
Whether it was a few mere moments or near eternity to reach Camilla’s home, Samael did not know, nor did he care as long as his love continued to breathe. He rushed up the stairs, barking orders to the servants to bring everything he needed from hot water to bandages, to his medical equipment. In Camilla’s chambers he laid her to rest gently on the bed. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Johnathon Morris still trailing close behind. “Be gone!” he ordered with controlled anger.
“But, Samael I can-”
Johnathon hesitated for a few moments before finally bowing out of the room, leaving Samael to tend to Camilla in a stone cold silence.
Hours passed by as Johnathon paced downstairs in the drawing room. The sky outside was turning shades of pale rose and orange as the sun began to rise on the horizon. Chirping birds near the window grating on his frayed nerves. How could they be so chipper while a woman lay dying just up the stairs? A sudden slam at the drawing room door startled him from his musing, and he turned to see the cause. Samael Norse stood in the doorway, his jacket gone and his shirt rolled up to his elbows stained in an obscene amount of blood. His hands were not washed, and his eyes glittered a deep shade of green as they stared devoid of any known emotion at the young occultist.
“How is she…?” he asked solemnly.
Johnathon blinked in surprise, unsure if it were the shock of Camilla’s death or Samael’s immovable form that stunned him so. “Samael, I-”
“Save it.” The Doctor cut him off quickly, though he made to move to leave the doorway. Samael continued to stare at the younger man, a muscle in his jaw now starting to twitch. “Tell me how this happened. Now.”
The young Morris blinked, still stunned and unsure how to reply to the older man. Samael stood still as a rock with a look that could surely even shake the devil if he stood before them. “Eh, I’m not quite sure really I don’t know if I can-”
“Tell it all.”
Johnathon blinked again, taking in a deep breath of courage to steel himself. Surely the doctor wouldn’t harm him; after all, he did his best to save Camilla. “I had been hunting the beast for a good week now. I was following its trail when I came across it attacking a carriage. I had not known it was Camilla’s. I had arrived late… The footman and carriage driver were already swallowed whole. I killed the beast, but Camilla…” the boy paused. “Samael, I’m sorry. If I could have done anything…”
“’Could’ is your favorite excuse, isn’t it, Morris?” Samael’s eyes narrowed as he stepped a few paces closer to Morris. Johnathon in turned took a few steps back and to the side, having that sudden look as if he were about to flee. The doctor continued to advance until the young Morris had escaped from the drawing room and was cornered near the front door. “All of your ranting and raving, Morris, and it didn’t do a damned thing, did it! Were you drunk? Chasing women? Did you boast of your skills and waste precious moments while my Camilla lay bleeding on the streets?!”
Johnathon fumbled for the doorknob and flung it open as he near catapulted himself out the front door. Samael was following, obviously seething as his eyes flashed with anger and a small vein bulged at his temple. “Look here, Norse, I did what I could!”
“You did not do enough!” Samael roared after Johnathon as he stood in the doorframe, his hands clenched tightly as his sides. “You did not do enough. And for that, Morris, you will pay dearly.” With those fatal words, he slammed the door in the young man’s face.
* * * * * * * * * *
A haunted gaze peered down in to the amber liquid that swirled in slow circles in a glass. Candidly he wondered how much pressure he could put to the crystal before it shattered in his very hands. Samael took another long drink, emptying the contents and slamming the bottom down on the counter with more force than necessary as her summoned the barkeep for another. One month had passed since he lost Camilla. One agonizing month, rolling the images in his mind, second guessing, reenacting. He cold have stayed. He could have taken her. If he had arrived sooner… Anything but the hollow emptiness that had taken residence in the very pit of his soul.
Two men took a seat near him, though Samael paid them no mind. As the barkeep set a refilled glass before him, he picked it up taking deep swallow half listening to their hushed conversation. He could smell the metallic scent of blood, something he recognized being a doctor but more memorably resurfacing the pain of the very night he wanted to forget.
“He returned to town, got one special just for him. Pays mighty good for ‘em too. Ain‘t nothing‘ killin‘ a whore or two. They ain‘t but gutter trash anyway and no one misses ‘um.” One of the men boasted to his companion, in hushed tones. The corner of Samael’s eyebrow twitched as if some sort of internal battle was crying out for justice, but he remained still drinking from his glass.
The second man clicked his teeth. “I still think yer mad. What you wan’ go dealing with demons I’ll never keen. He might up and eat your guts or something’. No amount o’ of power or money is gonna make me deal with demons, I tell you what.”
Snorting, the first replied. “One of those higher ups, arch demons. He ain’t gonna lay his teeth in no vampire. Thinks we’re trash.” he took a long drought of beer, then wiped his face with his sleeve before continuing. “Dun matter much, I woulda killed ‘em anyway, least this way I get me a bonus out of it. Those prissy purebloods are gonna get a nasty surprise when I get blessed by an arch demon!”
Samael caught himself listening more intently than he realized. Vampires? Arch demons? Had all the ramblings of the Morris been true? Camilla had said herself with her dying breath it was a beast that attacked her. Creatures of the underworld roaming the streets of London feeding on the innocent. Samael had the urge kill them both, talking so idly of murder. But if they were truly vampires, he was only a mere human. They would snap his neck with little effort. The one they mentioned caused him some curiosity, an arch demon that granted power? What would he want in return? A soul? It seemed like the standard request a beast of hell would ask for. Samael glared down at his glass as his mind took an odd turn of thought. He could not save Camilla, nor could he protect his sister Lucille. Morris spoke of being an occultist, though he had not protected Camilla either. Would that demon grant him the power to save others and seek revenge?
Before he thought twice, being pulled by some invisible force, Samael left his chair and approached the two men. “Who is this.. Arch demon?” he asked.
The pair had not realized someone was listening in, and neither looked willing to give away secrets to some stranger. However, a cold glittering look in the man’s eyes had the first thinking twice. The way he clenched his fists look too suspiciously like he would pull out a stake and stab them in the heart if they refused. “Eh… Amadeus Nieyemer. You can uh… find him at the White Club.” He didn’t expect the arch demon wouldn’t be too pleased at being interrupted, but the vampire guessed with sadistic glee that the human would end up gutted for daring to approach him.
Without giving thanks or another word, Samael turned away and left the bar. He would seek out Amadeus Nieyemer. Perhaps if he could not fill that void in his soul, he would be better off without one at all.
* * * * * * * * * *
The White Club was one of the most prestigious men’s clubs in London. There was dining , a few games of cards in the back, and the social elite any ladder-climber would be dying to converse with. Samael Norse had spent very few hours in the White Club himself; The shallow topics of ones monetary gain or the affairs of politics interested him little. Now even more so than ever. His only objective was to seek out that demon and be rid of the shadows that were slowly eating at his heart. At the front desk he met with some opposition. Amadeus Nieyemer was indeed at the White Club, however he was uninterested in meeting any strangers without appointment. Even bribery did little to sway the stout man’s mind which left Samael casually browsing the club and trying to look inconspicuous.