An earlier draft was shared once before. Here is the edited draft. Don’t mind the paragraph numbering; that was just added for ease of editing and will be removed later. What does everyone think? Give me your honest opinion and don’t spare my feelings, please. Thank you!
1. It was winter solstice, the longest night. Under the eerie glow of the two full moons, riding high in the midnight sky, a dark elven Völr led a bound elf into a clearing within a dark and ancient forest. Rising up from the snow-covered earth, and encircling the clearing, were thirteen standing stones, looming high into the darkness. A dark elf, cloaked in black, moved from the shadows and held the elf in a tight grip, as the Völr raised a chalice of pure quartz to his lips. She tipped the chalice, forcing him to drink the strange dark red liquid. The elf was then brought to lie upon a massive altar of solid white stone set in the middle of the clearing. There he was bound to the altar, and then the black-clad dark elf and the Völr moved away, to retreat into the shadows beyond the ring of standing stones.
2. The elf struggled against his bonds until another hooded figure stepped out of the shadows and approached the altar. Beneath his hood, eyes shone like two pits of swirling, green fire, a dark elf’s eyes. Then the elf glimpsed the gleaming dagger, gripped in the cloaked figure’s hand, and he renewed his struggles. In a single swift movement, the cloaked dark elf raised the dagger and slashed the bound elf’s neck. Blood sprayed from his open throat, and as he gulped for breath, the dark blood gurgling from the wound and welling in his mouth, the dark elf lifted a quartz chalice to the elf’s neck and filled it with blood.
3. Standing before the altar, with head bowed, he whispered a strange incantation over the chalice. Then as the life drained from the elf’s eyes, the dark elf drank, emptying the chalice. His head snapped back, and his hood slid down. His green eyes blazed brighter, just as the scene before him dissolved into darkness, and at that moment, he felt his spirit soar into the abyss, searching for something that could heal the agony which had left him cold and hollow.
4. Suddenly, a form took shape in the void, its brightness penetrated the murky shadows of the abyss and seared through his dark soul.
5. The abyss gave way, and the dark elf found himself in a forest. Sunlight cascaded through the canopy of limbs and budding leaves. The air smelled of damp earth and decaying leaves. Sweet and pungent. He could hear flowing water and was drawn towards the sound. It was a small creek, dark from the leaves that lay on the bottom. A flicker of movement upstream caught his eye, and he moved towards it, following at a distance as it slipped through the trees. Catching the occasional glimpse, he could make out a figure radiating a pale shimmering light. As he pursued the figure, he kept to the shadows. The trees opened to reveal a deep pool from which the creek flowed. Steam rose from the jeweled surface of the water. On the opposite bank stood a young woman, her aura like sunlight reflected from the multifaceted surface of a diamond, her silver-blonde hair flowed to her waist. She wore a white dress of sheer gauzy fabric that flowed ethereally about her tall, slender body. In her right hand she held a hunting bow, its arrow notched and pointed at him. He stepped out of the shadows, and the young woman slowly lowered her bow.
6. “Why are you here?” she asked. She seemed uncertain.
7. He didn’t reply. It wasn’t the first time he’d encountered her in his astral travels. For much of his life, she’d haunted his dreams. Usually, they did not speak. There had been no need, for it had been as though he knew her mind and she his. Always before when she’d wandered into his dreams, he had observed her, until she noticed him. Then she would pause to sit with him or walk together in silence.
8. He studied her pretty face and her intense green eyes that scanned her surroundings as if seeking an escape. “Come to me,” he said at last.
9. The young woman hesitated at first, but then, as if under an enchantment, she set her bow upon the ground and stepped towards the water’s edge. She knelt down, and slid into the water, dipping under the surface as the steam closed in, obscuring her from view. For a moment he wondered if she would reappear, but then she reemerged at the bank where he stood. He held his hand out to her, and she reached to take it. Effortlessly, he lifted her from the water, as though she were weightless.
10. She stood before him, gazing up into his face, sheepishly, while his eyes skimmed over the contours of her body where the drenched fabric of her gown clung translucent against her pale skin. A thrill of excitement rose in him, an urge to take her into his arms, sink his fangs into her neck and to do unspeakable things to her. She tilted her head, exposing her neck, as she eyed him with curiosity.
11. “I know you,” she whispered.
12. “This isn’t real,” he stated bitterly.
13. “I am real,” she insisted.
14. He shook his head. “This is only a dream, and you are not real.” Her expression changed in an instant, the hurt registering in her eyes. He stepped forward then and pulled her against him, giving in to his desire as he slid his hand behind her neck and ran his fingers up into her hair.
15. She tilted her head to look up into his face, a look of longing in her eyes. “It doesn’t feel like a dream,” she whispered, as her fingertips feathered a cool trail across his chest.
16. He lowered his head to kiss her, and her lips parted at his touch. Her arms slid around his lean waist, her delicate hands trailing up his muscled back, as he tightened his grip on her, pulling her body against his, his mouth exploring hers. The tip of her tongue slid over his sharp fangs and sensing her excitement as her body tensed, a groan sounded in his throat and her back arched, but then the mist began to close in around them. He tried to resist the darkness that crept forth to drown out the vision as he was pulled back through the abyss.
17. When the veil of darkness lifted from his eyes, he found himself in the clearing before the altar. The heat coursing through his veins, his arousal, all too real, even if the vision had not been. He cursed. This was not what he had hoped for. He’d been seeking guidance, and instead, he felt the hollow ache in his chest as a raw, open wound.
18. There had been a time, when he was a young man when he had dared to hope that the dreams which plagued him were a sign of what was to come, — a time when he had still believed he could find her. And yet, after centuries of searching — even venturing into Miðgarðr, the realm of mortals, — he had finally given up. She was a dream, nothing more. A vision of beauty and innocence that was forever beyond his reach.