You welcomed it in, eagerly brought it into your body; all that foggy liquid that flowed from nothing into your chalice, hardly contained by the force of your bindings, the strength of your spells.
It shone so brightly in the sputtering candlelight.
You hardly waited for the last of the spell to fade before you brought it to your lips, gulped it down in a single mass; it tasted so right flowing down your throat, thick and rich and savory, the chalice never seeming to empty.
It took so long.
But then it was inside you, it was in you, all that strangeness, that blood and pus and lymph squeezed from the flesh of the Unreal finding a new home in your fertile meat, in the body you had spent so long preparing for it.
You knew it would hurt. You weren't ready for it.
The eyes came first, bubbling up all over–sudden flashes of vision as they opened, shooting stabs of pain like nothing you could have imagined as they popped, as you rolling and tore at them with fingers grown too papery to do any damage.
Vitreous jelly stained your body.
Only the ones on your face remained, dozens of them, each finding a place in the chitinous plate that would become your new face, your new mask. Learning how to see through them, how to see properly for the first time in your life, was a welcome distraction.
The other changes came on more slowly, less painfully. The growths on your head were a surprise–you only noticed them when you hit your head on a doorframe, when you realized it felt different to look around. Your wings grew painfully slowly, dust slowly accreting into form.
When it was done, when you thought it was finally done, you crawled out of bed, tried to see yourself in the mirror.
Tried to visit your reflection again, to learn from her what you had become.
But she was gone.
You didn't realize that the mirror opening for you would be quite so literal, but ... it was.
So you went through, drawn by song and false-memory.
How could you not?
It already seemed more of a home than the ruined place you had used to shed your old skin.