A new name - a new life
Gulg, 581 IA
Shivering apathetically, the petite, black-haired girl crouched in a side alley. Her clothes were new and of outstanding quality, but covered in blood and soaked through. The black hair was carefully laid into curls and neatly groomed, but the silk ribbon holding the braid together soaked with blood. The sky-blue eyes were swimming in tears, but she made no sound.
She stared motionless in front of her, not even reacting to being addressed. Yet it was hours before someone called for the Templars. She did not react to their address either, but she did not resist when one of them lifted her up and carried her carefully into the guardroom. All the asking did not help. Not the questions about her name, not about her parents. Not even when they asked her about the blood. She simply stared into space, did not touch the food offered, did not take the water that was handed to her.
Everything in the girl’s head was whirling. She wanted her daddy. She wanted to go home to her father. The girl heard one of the Templars say, “We’ll just call her Tatjana until we find her parents.” She protested in her head. That was not her name! Her name was Rose, not Tatjana. She opened her mouth for the first time in hours, but all that came out was, “I want to see my daddy.”
More hours passed before they called in the healer. “She’s in shock,” Abat said. “I’ll take her with me and we’ll wait to see when someone she belongs to comes forward.” After a minute of thinking, the Templars agreed. The girl, now called Tatjana, continued to cry for her father. The Templar who had been looking after her wondered about this. Any normal child would have cried for its mother. But this one only wanted her father. Why?
Three months later…
The girl learned quickly. Certain things, such as the need to ingest blood now and then, were already ingrained in her. The same applied to the need to keep these things secret. A new thing she had learned was to take on a new identity, a new name. She was Tatjana now, even if she never forgot that she was actually Rose. She learned that animal blood did not taste good, but was easier to get in the slaughterhouses. Getting the blood was easy. Either you begged for it under the pretext of wanting to make blood sausage, or you stole it when the men went home for the night.
The daily routine was difficult for her. In the past, she had only risen when the sun was already low in the sky and had stayed awake until sunrise. Now she had to get up when the sun rose and was expected to spend the hours of the night sleeping. For her, all this felt completely wrong. But she was learning. As long as she did what they expected of her, she had no negative consequences to fear. As long as she took the normal human food, no one asked why she was hanging around the slaughterhouses. When she behaved like an orphan, no one wondered why the child seemed so strange and had such strange habits. She also learned that her beauty gave her advantages when she was caught stealing. Or that people never looked up, which is why you could move around on the rooftops unseen.
On nights when she slept, she dreamt of her father. She never saw his face, but she heard his deep, trusted voice, which gave her a certain form of peace. The only trustworthy thing in her life, apart from the beast inside her. It was almost as if she was the orphan Tatjana during the day, but at night she was Rose, her father’s beloved daughter. She wondered if he was looking for her? Whether he missed her, too? One day, she promised herself. One day, she would find him and return home.