Rain. Always rain. He supposed it was fitting, really. The wet pines gave off a heavy smell, the trunks glistening with raindrops and wet lichen. The spongy ground gave slightly under his feet as he tramped through the grass, his shins being whipped with low twigs and strong stems.
The feeling in the pit of his stomach grew more intense as he neared the clearing.
He was early - he'd been waiting for this moment for years, in a way - and he was far too scared, too exhilarated, to be late.
He was at the clearing now. It was around 15 metres wide, with thick tufty grass covering its floor. Taking a crumpled packet of cheap cigarettes from his pocket, he found he was shaking slightly in fear.
The rain put paid to any efforts to light one, though, so he shoved them back in his pocket and moved slowly to the centre of the clearing, feeling very exposed.
The setting sun lit the trees on the side of the clearing with fire and blood.
His breath made clouds in the air, thick fogs that hung in the motionless air, and even the birds seemed to have fallen silent. Piercing his reverie, it came. A soft, sibilant whisper, cutting through the air.
"Brentt." He turned, and saw what he had been waiting for, what he had been fearful of. The man. The beast. The Immortal.
Sarachan. Or, to give him his full title, Sarachan The Endless. He was tall, dark. Hair flowed like an endless waterfall to his waist, jet black and poker straight. He seemed to suck the light into him, the air blurring and twisting as he moved towards Brentt, the grass parting as he approached.
His long raincoat flapped in the wind, slower and more deliberately than it should have. Deep within his eyesocket, the setting sun flared in a blood-red pinpoint.
"Walk with me." A gentle command, not a request. Brentt was powerless to refuse anyway. A cool, manicured, pale hand was extended to him, and he took it. Sarachan twined his fingers around Brentt's and began to pace very slowly across the clearing, stopping as they reached the trees.
"What shall we do with you now, young Brentt, since you're here, hmm?" Brentt said nothing, facing the tree he'd been stopped in front of, unable to move.
Sarachan dropped his hand and drifted silently back towards the centre of the clearing, leaving Brentt to stand.
His knees began to shake, very slightly. His breathing was a little more ragged now, his mouth dry. The sunlight was starting to go in earnest now; more than 5 yards into the forest and the darkness was impenetrable. Brentt almost collapsed when he felt a pair of hard, cold points on the side of his neck.
He'd not heard Sarachan come close. The hands that found their way to his waist we soft but insistent, and they pulled his shirt from his trousers, tugging it over his head, nails scraping his skin just slightly.
There was unmistakeable urgency in his actions, mirrored in the way that his teeth dug deeper into the skin of his neck, the tips just breaking the surface. Sweat rolled down Brentt's back in the cold air. Cool fingernails echoed its trail down, underneath the back of his waistband.
Long fingers worked their way down, and dug inside him. His fingers slid over the slick bark of the tree as his back arched, his heels leaving the ground. Sarachan growled. A second hand ripped Brentt's jeans off in one swift movement.
One final movement, and Sarachan was buried deep inside Brentt, motionless again. Bark splintered under Brentt's fingers. Copper blossomed in his mouth as his teeth broke the skin of his lip. His shoulderblades stood out from his back, tendons making hard ropes under his skin.
For the first time, Brentt heard Sarachan breathe. "Brennnntt." Sarachan hissed, as he began to move his hips, driving himself deeper. Brentt found himself pushed against the tree, his back arched so his chest was flat against the trunk, while his legs were still half a yard away from it. He felt Sarachan's nails dig into the soft hollows by his hips, the slight pop of released tension as they cut into him, the cool air stinging it just slightly.
Sarachan reached forward to find Brentt's erection, sliding smooth fingers teasingly over it in time with his thrusts. Unable to control himself, Brentt pushed back into Sarachan, gripping the tree tighter.
A moan escaped him as Sarachan pushed deeper and harder into Brentt, quickening his pace slightly, his grip on Brentt's erection tightening as he began to slide his hand over it faster. Sarachan's breathing grew harsher. His teeth sunk into Brentt's neck again, deeper, until a trickle of blood slid slowly to the small of his back.
He was moving quickly now, forcefully, setting up a rhythm between the movement of his hips and his hand on Brentt's erection, until Brentt gasped and threw his head back and cried that he was losing control. Sarachan could feel Brentt's heartrate increasing, and bit his neck harder, tasting him, until he felt Brentt buck and twitch violently in his hand, felt the warm wet of his essence as it spilt on the clearing floor, and knew his own end was inevitable His breath rasping against Brentt's shoulder, he drove in one final time, emptying himself into the man, the release as exquisite as the taste of his blood.
For interminable moments he shuddered at Brentt's back, before releasing his breath in one final rattling sigh. At last, he stepped back.
Brentt clung to the tree, unable to move, naked and shivering in the cold. "I will see you again, young lover. You will be different then," he heard Sarachan say, as if from a great distance.
There was a sound like a great bird taking flight, and then he was gone. Resting his head against the trunk of the tree, Brentt knew what he was at last. He was now The Waiting One. Sarachan had seen him, and he had been marked.