|I am immortal and I am not alone. Now is the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can be only one.|
When I died for the first time, almost two hundred years ago, I was seventeen. At that point, my ageing stopped, and so I will always look seventeen. I could dress to add or subtract a year or two, if I wanted to, but I will never change. Sometimes that can be a problem. Enemies often think my head will be easy pickings, and challenge me more readily than they otherwise might. Friends, even when they know better, have a hard time seeing me as capable of taking those fights. They try to interfere - which puts them in danger too.
It was one of those enemies, one of those fights, that had brought me here. I’d come halfway across the world to evade him, and now I’d arrived in Austria, where I hoped to hide out for a while, at least until he’d lost interest in me and stopped looking. The area was so peaceful and beautiful; it seemed hard to believe that anything bad could happen here. It felt safe. I could almost convince myself that it was.
I had decided to make use of my apparent age. It would enable me to blend in in the girls’ school I had found out about. It seemed like a good solution, and I hoped I was right – surrounding myself with people, especially if they were mortals, should make him back off and think again.
I stayed in a small hotel near the lake, since school would not open for another couple of days. I was on the alert for the tell-tale sensation that would announce the presence of another like me. For my first day there at least, I felt nothing. Maybe I’d been successful. And maybe he was just taking his time to find me. In the privacy of my room, I gripped the hilt of my sword and went through some practice exercises to calm myself down.
When I finished, I tucked the sword away in my trunk and wondered how I was going to conceal it at the school. There was no choice on that matter; mortals could not be allowed to know about us, so I couldn’t explain why I needed it. I would find a way.