Vienna, 22nd of February of 2013 In order for someone to survive as an immortal, it is fundamental to learn how to properly use a sword. It doesn't matter that you don't want to play the Game, you still need to know how to defend yourself against others that want your head. And you always have to be prepared to fight because you never know when another immortal will challenge you. True, it would not happen in a place full of people, but as soon as you find yourself in a dark alley or an empty garage, there would your opponent be, waiting for you. This is why we all carry swords. We hide them as best we can - I know of one immortal that keeps his disguised as a cane, which I find particularly ingenious. I keep mine in my instrument case, except when I have to go through customs, then I find it's best to just keep it in its proper case and say it's a collector's item. As long as you have the proper papers, no one bugs you about it. All this I learned in due time, but back when I lived with Darius, I had no idea about these intricacies. As I said before, he hadn't picked up a weapon since the day he had taken Emrys' head and he wasn't about to make an exception by teaching me how to wield a sword. That's why, at first, I thought that I had a choice and that all other immortals would respect my choice, just like all immortals respect Holy Ground. (Didn't I mention this before? No fighting on Holy Ground - it's a rule. I don't know what would happen if someone broke that rule, because as far as I know, no one ever did.) Like I said, I thought the choice was mine to make. Boy, was I wrong. About seven months after my arrival in Paris, I was walking alone in a valley, five kilometers north of the city. I was looking for some herbs Darius needed to make medicine (I had sort of become his assistant) when I felt that sense of urgency we get when another one of us is around. I turned around to find a man standing behind me and he had already drawn out his sword. I tried to tell him that I didn't want to fight and that I wasn't even armed, but he didn't care. He actually said that if I was foolish enough to go around unarmed, then I deserved what I was about to get. I knew I was in trouble. I won't describe the fight here, I don't know how to describe fights in writing. I'm just going to say that my eighteen years in a circus came more in handy than anyone would think. I'm very fast and light. I climb trees very well and I am not afraid to perform crazy acrobatic stunts. And, despite my poor eyesight (albinos are not known for having good eyes, although it's not as bad as most people think), I have a really good aim when I'm throwing rocks at people's heads. To cut this short, after we played cat and mouse for I don't know how long in the woods, I managed to knock him senseless and take his sword. It crossed my mind at the time that I could just run away while he was out but I decided against it. Maybe my judgment was still clouded by the attack that had taken my family, but I really believed this guy would come after me later on. It would only be over if I ended it at that moment. So I did it. I took his head. His quickening made me nauseous. The stories Darius had told me had not prepared me for the violence that was the power of another living being going through my body. This guy wasn't even that old. As I walked back to Paris, his memories mixed with my own, confounding me. I didn't know his name and but I knew some rather intimate details about him that I do not care to recount now. When I arrived at the church and saw Darius, I was still dragging the guy's sword behind me. Once again, words were not necessary to explain what had happened. This time, he did not comfort me. He knew, as I did, that my time with him had come to an end. I had taken my first head and, by immortal standards, I was ready to go off on my own (even if I wasn't really ready). I knew he was disappointed, but I couldn't tell if it was because I had killed the guy or because I was leaving. A couple of days later, I left Paris for the first time in my immortal life.