Alec and I went on adventures through the city, sneaking out of the monastery during meals and exploring all the different districts, usually staying in the safer districts of the city. We especially kept kept away from Residential District D until one day, we were feeling extra adventurous and confident in our abilities to fight back any attackers.
I had never seen an area so desolate and ominous, and the fact that it existed in the middle of Onegas, the largest city in the world, a city literally teeming with life, made it all the more foreboding. Even though the Mindflayer explosion had taken place hundreds of years ago, the extermination of life was still apparent. Houses that had once been glorious were charred and whole chunks were blown away. Not a soul seemed to exist there, but I knew some of the most foul creatures known to EbonHurst haunted those ruined buildings—no one else would stand living here. It was tiring, but fun to test our abilities against something besides a training dummy or each other.
Alec and I seemed to be able to defeat anything we came across, until we ran into one of the fiends we'd heard such awful stories about. In our arrogance, Alec and I had unwittingly marched into a place that we may not, in fact, have been able to fight our way out of. This fiend, a vampire, was tucked away in a building in absolute darkness. It seemed to be sleeping, so we attempted to leave without waking him. Much to my dismay, Alec didn't see a large rock in front of him and tripped over it, falling on his face and making a loud racket.
The vampire shot upright and stared hard at Alec. Without warning or effort, he rose and walked right up to the vampire and bared his neck. I shrieked and ran forward to save him, but the vampire clawed my face, draining me of some of what little energy I had left, before sinking his fangs deep into the throat of my companion, draining his life force, and leaving him to collapse on the ground.
I ran as fast as I could, using the sunlight outside to my advantage. The vampire shrieked a horrible sound at me as I escaped, my feet pounding the uneven ground outside with all the haste I could muster. That awful noise seemed to follow me all the way to the monastery.
When I finally returned, I fell into my bed and cried. All the lessons about composure and inner peace I'd asked the monks to teach me went to the wayside that day. I was consumed by sorrow and anger. I cried for the rest of the day, wishing for nothing more than to have Alec back and to turn back time. I knew we should not have wandered into District D, but something compelled us to test our mettle, and it led to more loss in my life – something I had hoped to avoid. When Brother Aric confronted me about my behavior, I told him everything, despite how incriminating it was. I was reprimanded, but because the monks were my family, they also supported me in my time of grief. Many of them had known what it was like to love before they joined the monastery, and I was met with sympathy. However, the monks decided it was best to keep me there longer before sending me on my quest for self-discovery. I redoubled my efforts to gain control of my emotions, and decided that falling in love was a major sacrifice that I was not willing to make again. The pain I felt that day rivaled the pain that I felt the day my parents died. I spent more time at the monastery meditating and searching for serenity than I ever had, because any sort of inner peace was made less attainable now that I'd suffered another loss.