Chapter One: Immortal Essence
It was late autumn, mid-fifteen-hundreds in Ireland. The sky was dark, threatening rain, but that was usual. The first city was named Dublin meaning 'dark pool' but the rain was not the reason. The true reason had to do with a treacle lake. Though history states it was no longer the dark times, for two women it still was. Women were not much allowed to do anything. These two women had their secret obsessions though, as others did surely.
It was always far past dusk when the two women snuck out of their homes for reasons none other then their passions. One being an alchemist, meaning she loved to experiment with different herbs and substances. She would make mixtures with them, trying to create various products. Mostly for beauty, for she had much vanity about her looks. The other woman was a florist. She found not even half as much delight in anything else as she did in her flowers. This was her sin of pride.
These two women had not much interest in religion though, being too obsessed with their hobbies. Also, there was currently a struggle between two religions, catholic and protestant. Neither of them was much connected with belief yet, so when the time came, they both planned to switch to whichever came out dominant. In the mean time, the only thing of importance was their trades.
Uaine, the alchemist, was a rather poor woman in her earlier twenties. She had thick raven hair and livid green eyes. Her skin was fair and bore a great complection. She lived with her father who was old and soon to be on his death bed. His sickness wouldn't be as bad if he was a bit younger. Uaine was currently looking for a way to make him younger, if not a cure to his ailment.
The florist's name was Líadan. She too was in her early twenties, but from a rich family. Her hair was bright orange and her eyes like sapphires. Her skin was slightly pink due to hours in the sun. Therefore, she also bore a few patches of freckles. Líadan lived with her brother who was in his late thirties. He favored the pub and often yelled for no reason, sometimes striking his sister. Due to this Líadan spent most of her time in her garden behind her house.
Though these women lived almost polar lives, by chance they became close friends. As fate would have it, they met each other in a forest on the banks of Liffey, the river's mouth being the location of their homes in Dublin.
After recovering from their fright, not being used to another person being in the woods at so late an hour, they made the other sworn to secrecy and then began a friendship, assisting each other in their trades. In return for the help, Líadan gave bouquets to Uaine to place by her fathers bedside and Uaine gave to Líadan, various beauty products.
On more than one occasion the women would write letters to one another, for they could not afford to sneak out all that often and at the same time. When then sent the letters, they would use false names, for no other reason then not wanting to be reprehended for the content.
They would write to schedule their meetings and also just to have someone to talk to. Líadan would often tell Uaine of her newly cultivated blossoms and Uaine would tell Líadan of her advances in her workings, also of her research and theories.
Líadan became very interested in Uaine's work. She was in awe of it. The letters soon became focused on just the research.
Uaine had discovered different blood types, using animals. In one of her experiments she had found a way to magnify liquids. This was of great use to her work. Though of course she kept all her findings secret, save for what she risked telling Líadan, who was extremely eager for the knowledge.
All this went on for a year. It ended when Líadan's brother found one of the letters and beat her senseless for the blasphemy, he was quite drunk at the time though.
They didn't communicate for three months when Líadan risked sending another letter, hoping to schedule another meeting. Uaine responded, very happy to hear from her friend again. Though her writing was a bit off and her words, desperate.
When they did meet a few days later, Líadan discovered that Uaine had taken to her father's ailment. The woman was in the first stages of the sickness, her senses failing. She was now hard of hearing and could not see well. She could also barely speak. She had written another letter and gave it to Líadan in person.
It explained how she had fallen ill. She had preformed experiments on her self using her father's blood. Now she was aware that different bloods could not mix. She was dying. Since Líadan knew and understood the work, it was Uaine's wish that she would take over the work when she passed away. She left her address and also, in the envelop, a key to her cellar, where she did all her work.
Uaine died a month later, and Líadan was devastated. She held true to her only friend's wishes and continued the research. She also hired a nurse for Uaine's father, who was soon to die.
Líadan dare not risk experiments on her self, she only used crows and rats as her subjects. In five months time, she came across something rather odd. She was examining blood samples and saw that one sample had started to blacken.
Bewildered, she fetched an old crow whom the blood belonged to. The bird was healthy as could be if not more so. It seemed to be a lot younger and vigorous. While she was examining it, the bird broke free and flew from the lab. Though in its escape it ran into a knife and bled much.
Luckily most of the blood fell in a pale. Líadan found another crow of the same blood type and gave it a small injection of the blood. The bird fell ill and nearly died. Just when its life span seemed to reach an end it was perfectly healthy, like nothing had ever happened.
Líadan came back to check on it two nights later and found all the other birds to be dead, blood all over the bottom of the cage. She was quite horrified by it. She put the strange blood-soaked bird in another cage after cleaning it and then cleaned the cage.
She examined the bird's blood again and looked in her research log to seem what she had given the original bird.
It was by chance really and kind of ironic. She had decided to use the pollen of a strange flower she had managed to cultivate. She called it an eclipse, for it seemed to shine in the light of the moon all though it was black.
It was this flower's pollen mixed with a rare fern's sap, treacle and an unknown chemical, that Uaine had produced, that had given the bird it's strange youth.
Líadan examined each of these ingredients and refined the mixture. After doing this many times, she decided to risk the experiment on her self. The refining process had resulted with a consumable liquid. She drank a vial and waited earnestly.
After a week she saw that she was fine. She threw up once but came to the conclusion that she had just eaten some bad meat.
It was at this time that her brother was beginning to notice that she had been taking money, though he did not know the reason.
Over her days of observation on her self, Líadan saw that she appeared and felt younger. It was this that gave her the idea to sell her potion. She dubbed it the Elixir of Youth and sold it to the prideful rich, women that were afraid of wrinkles and men that did not wish to weaken.
She sold seven vials, for that was all she could make at the time. The rare fern was no longer growing in the woods, due to the cold winter months.
Luckily, Líadan had collected some seeds from the plant and it would grow in her garden when spring came.
She still continued the research though. Slowly becoming weary, but unaware for her obsession blinded her.
During her experiments she found the reason for the bird's aggression. It was the unknown chemical or too much of it anyway. This worried Líadan. She had thought that the chemical was the main factor for the Elixir and had used a lot of it in the vials she sold. There was nothing she could do about it now though.
A day after her discovery she fell deathly ill and just like the bird she wound up perfectly well. Though it was to late when she recovered. She woke up in the morgue, in line to be buried. She slipped away unnoticed and lived on the streets.
Food was scarce and even when she did eat she threw it up. She though it was due to eating too much or too quickly after not having eaten for days. She found that even if she did manage to keep down even a little food, it made her ill.
She felt like she was dying. When she caught a glimpse of her face in a window, she found that she was ghostly pale, dark circles under her eyes.
Then one day something happened, something that changed Líadan's life forever. A drunken man was taking out his pent-up emotions on a poor man. Líadan was hiding near by, afraid for her life. A sob escaped her and the man found her. It was to her surprise that it was her brother.
He forced her beneath him, and began to remove what little clothing she had. She struggled so he beat her. She stopped moving once she was in enough pain. Then he raped her, forcing himself inside her tight, untouched core and moving in and out roughly. He gave her a bruising kiss and then left her there, bleeding and broken.
Days later she felt like she was on the verge of death. Water did nothing to quench her thirst and she felt sick at the smell of food.
It was then that another life changing event happened. A poor man had plunged a knife into the side of a man's throat. He then stole his wallet and ran away. For some reason at the sight of the man's blood a strange feeling appeared within Líadan.
Barely conscious and with her last bit of vigor, she crawled slowly toward the bleeding man. Once she got to him, her lips came to the small puddle of blood on the ground, from instinct it seemed. Drinking the blood lit a fire in Líadan.
She ripped the blade from his throat and began to suck on the wound. She heard foot steps approaching and looked up, the dead man's veins now near dry. The poor man that had stabbed the now bloodless man had returned.
He gazed into Líadan's empty eyes with a horrified expression. He was unable to move. He was fixated on her, blooding dripping down her chin unto her dress and covering her hands.
Líadan wanted more, so she stood up and made her way as fast as she could over to the man. Before he could manage to get a hold of him self it was too late. She had slashed his throat and he was now being pressed firmly to a wall while she sucked on the cut. The light in his eyes faded as did the gargling sounds of protest.
All of this had been done without awareness on Líadan's part. She woke the next day and panicked, there were two dead men and she was covered in blood. In her hands was a dagger with a metallic; slightly curved blade and a black, silver woven hilt and emerald on the pommel. There was blood on the blade.
Líadan tried hard to recollect what had happened, and when she finally did she was dumbfounded. The consumption of the blood of others had renewed her health, but how? Then she remembered the bird. There was blood everywhere and it was covered in blood and all the other birds were dead. Had it attacked them to drink their blood?
None of it made any sense. It went against her findings from the research. Days later, after thinking many things through, she decided to try one last experiment. She slit both her arms open, spilling much of her blood. To her surprise, she didn't die. She became very sick. A woman noticed her and came over to see what was wrong. Líadan slit her throat and drained her blood. Amazingly, the gashes on her arms healed and she once again became healthy.
She came to the conclusion that she was immortal, beyond death. Though, she wasn't sure about her life span and ageing process. That question was answered when she found her self living for the next hundred years, and the next, and the next.
She had saved up all the money from the people she had fed from, so when a time came that women had rights she made an appearance and fell once again into the rich society. She claimed to be a herbalist, making various medicines, ointments, and repellents. She, once again, obsessed in her research. She gained more and more knowledge and shared it with no one. She kept a diary in which she wrote about her condition and all the findings before it. She came to call her self, and the others out there who she had sold the Elixir to, Síoraí which meant immortal.
She would use makeup to look as if she was aging and when she could not make herself look any older than what she claimed to be within reason she would move away. Then when she was all but forgotten she would appear again and continue the same cycle.
She used many different identities and would often change her appearance in one way or another. She never dated or married, though she had many admirers.
She refused to have anything to do with men, convinced that they all would do the same thing as her brother. She never wanted that to happen again. Though when she needed to feed she would coax a man into her house, leading him on, and then she would kill him.
It took awhile for Líadan to get used to how she lived. Since she had grown up with her bother beating her, she had come to be a pacifist. But now she had no other choice but to kill, her life depended on it or so she thought.
At one point she had starved herself of blood for a year. She did not die but was very weak and slept most of the time. That's usually what she did when it was time for her to disappear. She would find a place to sleep for a few centuries, somewhere that she wouldn't be discovered.
The place was in a cave she had found in the forest. The place she had meet Uaine at. She had yet to forget about her dear friend. Sadly she had not created the Elixir until months after her father's passing. She pressed on with the research so that she might help anyone else that might take to the same illness.
No one had though, and that was good. Líadan had never found an actual cure. She doubted Uaine would be happy if her father lead the same life as her friend.
Over the years, others made the same discoveries as Líadan. She became infuriated when they became public, wishing she had done the same. Only, in her times she would have been charged with blasphemy, hung, burned at the stake, crucified or something of the sort.
So she coped with the frustration for she knew that she couldn't become famous. If she did, then reporters and paparazzi would always be watching. Any new findings she would anonymously post online, and hope that someone out there would use her information and make good use of it. That was her only desire, until later she realized something and formed a new goal.