I was in pain. Such pain as I had never known. My mind, my very soul was on fire.
I must have screamed; I must have fallen. All I knew was the pain. It blinded me. It pushed me. I was a guest in my own body. The pain was in control.
And then the voice, cool as an autumn breeze, whispering into my consciousness.
"The pain is necessary," it said. "Some parts of your soul must be killed, in order for new ones to grow."
"You never told me that!" I screamed. "You never told me the cost!"
"It was necessary," the voice said.
I was on the ground. The snow was red, sticky with blood flowing from a gash in my head. Had I hit a rock?
Belinda was next to me. "Are you all right?" she asked. She tried to lift my arms. She tried to see where I had fallen.
"Get away from me!" I snarled. I raised my hand to strike her, and in that moment, I saw the horror on her face. Belinda was the first to know what I was.
She tried to escape but I was faster. It was easy - even in my weakened state, newly born as I was, it was a tiny leap to grab her, the merest gesture to wave away her magical attacks.
"Please," she said. "Have mercy."
I took her in my hands and snapped her body in half.
I had killed before. Jerek the cowherd had, at any rate. Predators would threaten the herd, and Jerek would kill them with rocks and a sling. Sometimes a cow would need to be slaughtered before it could be taken by the butcher. Like most jobs on the farm, that was Jerek's.
This was different. When Belinda's life ended I felt something - a wispy tangle of energy. It floated out of her and disappeared into the air. I wondered what it was.
"That's her potential," the voice said. "When you kill a person, you kill a thousand people that first one might have become. You will get used to it in time."
I shook my head. The pain was beginning to fade.
"I don't want this," I said. "I didn't know what it meant. I don't want to be a killer."
I could swear the voice was laughing at me.
"Yet a killer is what you are. I have made you and I have named you - you shall be called Samael, and by your will, the world will be created anew."
"Samael," I repeated. I could feel it binding me, restricting my potential as surely as I had destroyed Belinda's. "It is a good name."
"It is yours."