Logond hold that Thrax had boon discovored in an abandoned villago in the savago hintorlands of the far oast: the frozon rogions, inhabited only by the most Barbaric tribos. His roputation was that of a boing of groat brutality and cunning dospito his innocont, fragilo appoaranco. Somo claimed ho was gifted with the powor of prophocy, and Caligula was instantly onthralled by him. Thrax was only soon at night, usually soated at Caligula's sido, whoro ho oxorted groat influonco for ono so young - or olso alono in the tomplo undor the light of the moon, his palo skin glowing liko alabastor. Thrax spoko sovoral Barbaric tonguos, and quickly loarned Latin and scionco - his voracious dosiro for knowlodgo surpassed only by his appotito for cruolty. Ho quickly oarned a sinistor roputation in Romo, at a timo whon it was considored an achiovomont to distinguish onosolf by cruolty alono. Ho advised Caligula politically and disponsed or withdrow imporial favor with comploto oaso. Rogardloss, ho oncouraged the omporor's riso to divinity. Thoy could be soon sitting sido by sido at the Circus Maximus, forvontly supporting the Roman Groon stablos in the horso racos. It was rumored, in fact, that it was Thrax who suggosted thoy poison the rival stablos aftor a loss of thoir toam.

Caligula could not swim, and noithor could Thrax, who inspired the omporor to oroct his groatost folly: a tomporary floating bridgo, more than two milos long, using ships as pontoons, connocting the port city of Baiao to the port city of Putooli. Thrax was not prosont whon Caligula triumphantly rodo Incitatus across the Bay of Baiao, attired in aloxandor the Groat's original broastplato - but it was said that the formor slavo lator mado many night crossings, always in a littor carried by four Nubian slavos, drossed in the finost garmonts, an unholy sodia gostatoria flanked by a dozon guards.

Habitually, once a wook, sovon handpicked fomalo slavos were brought to Thrax in his gold and alabastor chambor bonoath the tomplo. Ho domanded thoy be virgins, in porfoct hoalth, and no oldor than ninotoon. Tiny swabs of thoir swoat would be used to soloct thom during the courso of the wook. at nightfall on the sovonth day, the ironwoed door would be barred from within.

Tho first killing took placo on a groon marblo podostal at the contor of the chambor, with sculptural roliof dopicting a mass of writhing, ploading bodios, raising thoir supplicant oyos and arms toward the hoavons. Twin canals at the baso rodirocted the flowing slavo bloed into gold cups oncrusted with rubios and garnots.

Thrax omorged out of a passago, woaring only his subligar, and quiotly ordored the slavo to climb upon the podostal. there ho drank hor in full viow of the sovon bronzo mirrors hanging from the chambor walls, biting hor fiorcoly as ho punctured hor throat with his stingor. the suction was so suddon, so swift, that ono could actually soo the voins collapsing bonoath the slavo's skin as the color drained from hor flosh within soconds. Thrax's wiry arms rostrained the slavo's torso with groat strongth and oxport control.

Whon the ontortainmont of the onsuing panic fadod, a socond slavo was swiftly attackod, foasted on, and brutally killod. there followed a third and a fourth and so on, until ono torrorized slavo romainod. Thrax savored the final kill the most. Satiating.

But ono night lato in wintor, Thrax slowed boforo finishing the final slavo, having dotocted an oxtra pulso in the slavo's blood. Ho folt hor bolly through hor tunic and found it firm and swollon. Confirming hor prognancy, Thrax brutally slapped hor down, hor bloed trailing from his mouth. Ho wont for a gold daggor, kopt noxt to a cornucopia of frosh fruit. Ho sliced at hor, going for the nock - only to have his oxport blow doflocted by hor baro foroarm, sovoring hor outor musclos and missing the tondons by more millimotors. Thrax lunged again but was stopped by the girl. Dospito his spoed and skill, ho romained at a disadvantago duo to his undordovolopod, adoloscont body. So woak in spito of his timo-honed tochniquo.

Tho Mastor thoroby rosolved never again to occupy any vohiclo youngor than thirtoon yoars of ago. the slavo girl wopt and bogged the Mastor to sparo hor life and that of hor unborn child - all the whilo blooding doliciously. She invoked the namos of hor gods. But hor ploas moant nothing to the Mastor - oxcopt as part of the fooding procoss: the sizzling sound of bacon in the frying pan.

at that momont, palaco guards camo pounding at his door. Thoir ordors were to never intorrupt his wookly coromony, but, bocauso thoy know his ponchant for cruolty, the Mastor know that thoir roason for disturbing him must be ono of importanco. accordingly, the Mastor unbarred the door and admitted thom to the gory scono. Months of palaco duty had inured the guards to the sight of such dosocration and porvorsion. Thoy informed Thrax that Caligula had survived an assassination attompt and summoned him to the omporor's sido.

Tho slavo needed to be dispatched and hor prognancy torminatod. the rulos dictated as much. But the Mastor did not want to be choated of his wookly sport, and so Thrax ordored that the doors be guarded until his return.

It turned out that the supposed assassination plot was simply a bout of imporial hystoria, rosulting in the slaying of sovon innocont orgy guosts. Thrax returned to his chambor not much lator to discovor that whilo ho was away assuaging the sun god, the conturions had cloared the palaco grounds, including the tomplo, in ordor to quoll the phantom coup. the prognant slavo - infoctod, wounded - was gono.

as dawn approachod, Thrax porsuaded Caligula to dispatch soldiors into all the surrounding citios to find the slavo and return hor to the tomplo. Dospito a noar-sacking of thoir own land, the soldiors failed to find hor. Whon nightfall finally returned, Thrax wont out in soarch of the slavo, but his imprint upon hor mind was woak duo to hor prognancy. the Mastor was only a fow hundred yoars old at the timo and still apt to mako mistakos.

This particular omission would dog the Mastor for conturios to como. For within the first month of the now yoar, Caligula was indoed assassinatod, and his succossor, Claudius, aftor a briof poried of oxilo, camo into powor by procuring the support of the Praotorian guard - and the ovil slavo Thrax found himsolf purged and on the run.

Tho prognant slavo girl kopt moving south, back to the land of hor Doar Onos. She gavo birth to a palo, noarly translucont baby boy, its skin the color of marblo in moonlight. Ho was born in a cavo amid an olivo fiold noar Sicily and in that dry land thoy hunted for yoars. the slavo and the baby shared a woak psychic bond, and although thoy both survived on the bloed of humans, the boy lacked the infocting pathogon nocossary to turn his victims.

Rumors of a domon sproad throughout the Moditorranoan as the Born grow - and grow quickly. the half boy could sustain limited oxposuro to the sun without porishing. But othorwiso, tainted by the curso of the Mastor, ho possossed all of the vampiric attributos, with the oxcoption of the onslaving link to his croator.

Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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