Vianti has been a figure of amenable mystery for much of his adventure, hasn't he? Well, it seems there may be some skeletons in that serpentine closet that lend themselves to more consequential tidings. Perhaps we should ponder over what it was that brought our cherished snake boy to the point he reached with us so recently. Let's take a peek into Vianti's past! Shall we?
A Contract Made in Flame
They stood together on a dark ridge overlooking the burning pyre that used to be their home. The houses, the streets, the shops, all of it was being consumed by the flames. Flames that burned with an oddly purple glow, a point that should have raised more questions than it did. The ash and the smoke billowed up into the night sky, filling Vianti’s lungs and stinging his eyes. And yet, still he looked on, the crackle of the fire filling the silence. The moon and the stars in the sky the only witnesses to the two men looking down on the growing bonfire. It was just the two of them, alone. A boy, barely a man, and his Master.
“W-why did you do it?” Vianti eventually managed to say, the words barely a whisper against the roar of the fire below. His Master didn’t turn to face Vianti as he stared into the flames, the purple cast melding with the purple of his Master’s eyes. They made his eyes dance in a strange way, like this was the way they were always meant to look.
“So we could be free.” Niztanu said, his voice deep and solid as it always was. After a moment, he turned to Vianti, the intensity reflected by the fire below somehow remaining in his eyes, sending a shiver down Vianti’s spine. “Don’t you want to be free, Vianti?”
“I want to be with you, Master. As long as I’m with you I don’t care what or where we are.” Vianti answered quickly, the words slipping from his tongue without a second thought. They always seemed to do that when he was speaking to his Master. There was nothing in his heart he could or wanted to hide from him.
“Is that really how you feel?” Niztanu said slowly, a curious look wrinkling his brow before he turned back to the licking flames below. “Everything you’ve ever known- your home, your friends, your clients, your own mother- all of them are burning beneath you. You know I have taken this all from you. And yet, still, knowing all of this, standing above their graves and watching it all burn before you, your only thoughts are of me? Are of us?”
Vianti paused for a moment, facing the fire below. He hadn’t even stopped to think about the people he had known dying below him. He hadn’t had many friends. Sure, there were fellow courtesans he had gotten along with fine enough, but he wasn’t sure if he’d go so far as to call them ‘friends’. The Ma’am of the brothel had made sure to never show him more kindness than was necessary to keep her product healthy and in working condition, so about the most he could thank her for was pairing Vianti with his Master. He had no love for the few clients he had acquired since he had made his debut, and in fact might have even gone so far as to say he held contempt in his heart for them.
As for his mother…he honestly couldn’t say he had thought about her in years. It wasn’t that he hated her, it was more of he just felt nothing for her. How could he have feelings for someone he had never known? He was grateful to her for giving him the life she had, but it was in the way he was grateful to his heart for continuing to beat. It just wasn’t a thing he thought of much. It just happened. He couldn’t even remember her face, much less if they had ever spoken words to each other. How could he feel something for someone like that?
All Vianti knew in this world was his Master. He was in all his memories, he had taught him everything he knew. He couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t in love with him. When he didn’t dream of him. When a mere glance from him didn’t send his head swimming and his heart racing. Niztanu had devoured Vianti heart and soul long ago. He had consumed every part of him. His every moment belonged to his Master. Whatever he decided to do with it was for his Master to decide. All Vianti desired in the world was for his Master to keep feasting on him, for him to be enough to sustain his Master. Forever.
“I’m nothing without you, my Master.” Vianti said quietly but seriously. He meant every word. Believed it with every ounce of his being. He just hoped his Master would truly hear his words.
There was a long silence. There often was with Niztanu. He always chose his words and actions carefully and was never in a hurry to do anything. It was one of the many things Vianti admired about him. Vianti himself was always hungry to do things immediately, he wanted everything now. Niztanu told him it was just his youth, and that one day he would be calm and careful, too. It was his careful demeanor that made the fire below seem so rash. Could his Master really have done all of this? How long had Niztanu been planning this? For months? For years?
After what felt like an eternity had passed, Niztanu finally spoke, his tone full and solemn, but with just a slight hint of disappointment that stung like a knife.
“I need something more.”
Vianti felt the tears stinging the corners of his eyes as his heart dropped deep into his chest. Desperately, longingly, he pleaded to his Master.
“W-what do you mean? Have I not given you all that I am?”
His words were spilling out of his mouth without him really thinking about them, matching the tears that fell unbidden down his cheeks.
Niztanu turned to him, placing a large hand on Vianti’s cheek, his thumb tracing the constellation pattern carved into Vianti’s scales long ago.
“Of course you have, sweet Vianti. And you have done well. But now I need you to do more. I need you to BE more. For me.”
Niztanu’s voice grew almost flirtatious as he went on, smooth and soothing, like warm chocolate in Vianti’s ears. His Master’s thumb traced its way down to Vianti’s lips, brushing over them lightly, his fiery gaze locking onto Vianti and refusing to let go. Vianti followed his Master’s eyes down to where his touch met his lips, the look in them almost like he was considering, if only for the briefest of moments, touching them to his own. The ultimate ecstasy that Vianti craved with every fiber of his being.
“Don’t you want to make me happy, Vianti? Don’t you want to be with me, forever?”
The fire below them disappeared completely to Vianti’s senses. All there was in the world was his Master. His mere touch was driving his senses mad, despite his heart break not but moments before. Had he been crying? It seemed like a distant memory now, fading faster than it had come.
“Of course, my Master. You know all I desire is to be with you, to be worthy of you. I will do anything you request of me. You have but to speak it.”
A smile flickered across Niztanu’s face.
His Master’s hand left Vianti’s face, and instantly the sinking feeling of heartbreak crept its way inside Vianti once again. Only this time it was for the loss of his Master’s touch upon his skin. The burning sensation left behind by his fingertips left Vianti aching for more.
Niztanu took the long golden chain that always hung around his neck, a golden, diamond-shaped pendant hanging from the bottom of it, and placed it over Vianti’s head. The metal was cool against Vianti’s bare chest, but he could still feel some of the heat left from his Master’s skin. He wished for the rapidly cooling metal to let it linger just a little bit longer.
“Listen to my words carefully Vianti.” Their eyes met, and Niztanu took Vianti’s hands in his. “You know I pick my lovers carefully. Only the best will do. I need you to become the best of the best for me. I know you can do that for me, can’t you my sweet Vianti?”
Vianti swallowed painfully before answering, his mouth and throat dry and sore.
“Yes, my Master. Just tell me what to do and I shall do it.”
“I need you to become stronger.” Niztanu paused for a moment, leaning in closer to Vianti, but never taking his eyes from him. “Wear this necklace and think of me often. I want to be on your mind, always. Experience all the beauty and pain life has to offer. Let the world take its course on you, hardening you like tempered steel. Love many, share yourself passionately with as many people as possible, and love often, but always remember you are mine. You belong to me.” His Master was but a breath away from him now, his hot breath brushing against Vianti’s lips with every word until he could almost take no more and had to close his eyes. “Burn brightly, my sweet Vianti, like the star you were born to be. Become so bright no one can bare to look away from your brilliance.” His voice was at his ear now, tickling the small hairs on his neck. “When you have done that, find me. Learn the forgotten meanings of the stars and follow them to me. Find me and be my Lover.”
“I will, my Master. I will.” Vianti felt like he was going to overflow, his emotions raging like a fiery storm within him. The only thing that kept him grounded were his Master’s hands grasping his.
And then, suddenly, they were gone. The whisper of a kiss left on Vianti’s lips. A book and a tambourine lay in the grass where his Master once stood, not nearly able to fill the emptiness left behind. Vianti dropped to his knees, eyes wide to the stars above, as a Voice rang in his ears, almost indistinguishable from the roar of the still burning fires below:
“Then the contract is sealed, my sweet Vianti.”
Written by Soup