The Greek boy had yet to speak.
Well, he had yet to speak save for translating what the crew around them was saying. He'd awakened an hour after Malik had given him his own blood, and fed from both Egyptians before they headed to the docks (Bakura had threatened Malik's 'pet' with beheading if he dug his fangs in so long again, at which point the boy had withdrawn his teeth and fed properly). It was obvious that he understood what they were saying somehow, and when he'd begun quietly translating the words of the crew they knew that he was capable of speech; for whatever reason, though, he would not speak directly with either Bakura or Malik.
This was somewhat worrisome to the elder netjer kem; if the boy continued to be silent towards them he may have no choice but to carry through with his earlier beheading threat. It was even more of a concern than the fact that they had very nearly wiped out the crew already with their need to feed so often, although that was a close second. There were only four men left, and still three of them.
And while he'd shared kills with Malik before, their silent third may not be so willing to do thus. One human would not be enough to slake his hunger tonight, Bakura knew that well. It especially would not if they had to go another week without feeding. There would have to be no choice but for the boy to share in the last mortal, or the elder would not hesitate to throw him to the sea.
It did not take long for the netjer kem to take three of the remaining men, throwing their corpses overboard from separate sections of the ship before stalking the final man - the captain himself. Bakura had hoped that they would last longer, perhaps be able to wait for another few days, but with three needing to feed rather than two that was no longer possible.
"Bakura," Malik nearly whined, "my merwet ib still won't speak."
"I know," the elder replied, watching as the blond slipped from shadow to shadow, keeping the last mortal in sight. "Perhaps soon."
He did not say that he was contemplating destroying the xered netjer kem. That would serve no purpose other than to send Malik into a rage as he truly believed the Greek was the one prophesy had set aside for him.
In little time they had cornered the captain of the ship at the helm. He looked at them with fear written clearly upon his face and shouted at them in that infantile tongue, brykolakas the only word Malik and Bakura even comprehended.
"No," the Greek said softly; the captain appeared to understand his words even though both Egyptians did as well.
Is he translating somehow? Bakura wondered, keeping his surprise hidden better than Malik, who was staring intently. Why is he talking when we should be attacking?
The Greek xered ignored him, gaze locked on the mortal. "You have seen us in the light of day, yes? Then how could we be brykolakas?" He walked - glided almost - closer to the captain and held out a hand. "We are not damned, not brykolakas. We are as Artemis' wolves, yes?"
The captain had stopped his cries when the fair netjer kem began speaking, and now he placed his own hand in the one held out to him. The Greek flashed a brief toothless smile before speaking again: "Artemis' wolves do not kill out of cruelty, but only to survive. It would be an honor, yes? To be the stag taken to feed the moon's wolves. To bear your throat to the alpha, your right arm to the beta and your left arm to the cub."
To the Egyptians' amazement, as the Greek spoke his soft words the mortal calmly tilted his head back and offered both his arms. Bakura and Malik exchanged a confused look, snapping back to attention when they heard a soft laugh from the xered.
He tilted his head slightly, offering up a shy smile. "We can feed now," he said softly. "He will not flee or fight."
It was just past sunrise when the xered netjer kem came to them again.
He'd only spoken that one moment before taking the mortal's left arm and sinking his teeth into the exposed wrist, and after the three had drained the man simply vanished back into the depths of the ship without a sound. Malik had wanted to follow, but Bakura held him back.
"He will come in time," he had said, not really all that certain if the Greek's speaking to them even so briefly was a good sign. If he continued to shy away from them he would never really be one of them... and Bakura found himself wanting the fair child to be part of the small clan he was forming around him.
So he saw it as a step in the right direction when he felt the presence at his left and turned to see dark eyes peering at him intently.
"We are not brykolakas," he said in that same soft voice he'd spoken with before. "Then what are we?"
"You called us the moon's wolves," Bakura reminded the boy, his tone bordering on amusement. "It's a nicer term than... whatever it is your people keep calling us."
"Brykolakas. Damned. Drinkers of blood that are dead while Apollo rides across the sky but undead when Artemis does so." He frowned, gaze turning to the sun for a moment. "We are not dead, but Not Alive. What are we?"
"In Egypt," Malik offered, "they call us netjer kem. Black gods. They forget that we have names," he added with a sad sigh. "My name is Malik."
"I am Bakura," the elder stated with a nod. It was clear that he expected the Greek to offer up his own name next.
He was not disappointed. "Kadmus," the boy said, still peering out over the waves. "Son of Hali and Nyx. Fitting now, really."
Bakura frowned at the odd aside but figured he would ask about it later. "Why have you remained silent until now?" he asked instead, more curious as to the child's odd quiet.
Kadmus turned his gaze back to Bakura. "It is best to learn by being silent, so as to listen more closely," he said. "Once I learned, being silent was no longer necessary. I am still confused as to how I can understand you, as I do not know the tongue you speak in; and I am confused as to how you understand me, as I believe myself to be speaking the tongue I have known all of seventeen springtimes."
"Maybe it's some sort of... connection?" Malik asked, glancing to the eldest. "Like how you knew where I was hiding when we were Cursed and how we find each other after kills in large villages?"
"Maybe," Bakura murmured with a nod. Even after half a century he still knew very little about the Curse on their blood. He hadn't even been certain if they could pass the... infection to others, yet Kadmus was Not Living proof that it was possible. He himself had the ability to become invisible, although Malik seemed not to share that talent.
He suddenly frowned. "Kadmus, xered, how did you calm that mortal we fed on last night?" he demanded.
The Greek turned his attention from the waves and blinked at Bakura. "I talked to him," he said simply, as if it were nothing at all. "I reached into his mind and smoothed away his fears, and suggested that he wanted to give his life so that we might continue our existence. That is all."
"I can't do that," Malik noted with a pout. "Can you do that, Bakura?"
"No," the eldest admitted. "That's a talent I don't possess."
Perhaps, he mused as Kadmus returned his gaze to the ocean and Malik turned his eyes to Kadmus, the xered will prove to be a blessing to this abet after all.
xered - child
Kadmus - Greek name meaning from the east
Hali - Greek name meaning sea
Nyx - Greek name meaning night
abet - family
18 February 2006
Okay, this is the last chapter we got written overnight. More will come very soon though, I promise.