32 The Nature of Good Men*
The Knight Oath, which every graduate of the Knight Academies had to take, was more than a simple promise. The Knight Oath was hope, for every man, woman and child in times of peace and turmoil. A hope that no matter the state of the Empire, Justice would be upheld for every citizen. That they would be treated respectfully, and their problems judged in kind.
Rassa was beginning to question whether or not Jameson ever took the oath.
Rassa had been sitting in the mid-summer sun, wearing nothing but torn trousers and covered in rotten fruit and vegetables and excrement for the better part of a week. His Hunger had returned, and the aches and pains were just as he remembered them. He tried to welcome them as an old friend, but if he was honest with himself, he would have turned them out without a second thought had circumstances been different. He had yet to see his parents after that day. They were kept far away from him and watched at all times. The only people that Rassa did see were the Doctor, Jameson, and the rotating guards on watch. The Doctor sat murmuring to himself at least once a day for an hour. He brought a notebook and didn't stop writing for the entire time he sat by Rassa's cage. Rassa wasn't sure if it'd ever occurred to the Doctor to ask questions of Rassa's experience, but he seemed content in creating his own hypothesis (about only 5% of which were actually close to the truth).
The three main theories the Doctor had surmised and frequently revisited regarding Rassa's case were as follows:
The Elves had done it, Rassa was some kind of hybrid elf gone wrong.
Rassa had been born like this, and the Gods had punished him for some inexplicable crime, cursing him to only drink blood for the rest of his life.
And Third, the Cave story was somewhat truthful, some dark force had inhabited Rassa, and the Doctor needed to find a way to expel it.
At least with the third he was somewhat right, though Rassa doubted the process could be reversed. Considering Phillip and Anna's adamant claim that Rassa had become this way after the incident three years ago, the town seemed to have settled upon the third theory. This meant, against the Baron's wishes, a Light Magician was requested to arrive at their earliest convenience.
Jameson also seemed quite peeved about this outcome. Not only did requesting for a Light Magician mean that he would be forced to stay here longer, it also meant that the curiosity surrounding this new beast would increase. The more people that knew about Rassa, the more parties that would fight over him. Jameson however, was bound by his Oath to serve the word of the Lord whose jurisdiction he resided under. While the Baron was not whom he had sworn to serve, he was the authority of this area. Hence, Jameson couldn't go against him unless the Baron made a decision which impacted on the safety of the community. Unfortunately, the Baron's decisions, though also made unwillingly, were quite the opposite in this case.
And this is the reason why Rassa's opinion of the Knight Captain had continuously decreased. You see, Jameson seemed to have developed a thirst for...mistreating his new pet.
The Knight Captain would stop by on his rounds every morning, draw his sword, and poke and prode at Rassa as he pleased. The cage was only so large, so Rassa could only avoid it's blade for so long. At first the tiny cuts and bruises had healed quite rapidly, much to the disappointment of the Knight Captain and the Guards, but as Rassa grew hungrier, and his limbs grew heavier, they healed more slowly, and Rassa strained to escape the worst of them as he once had.
The worst cuts, without a doubt, were those that slashed at his life lines. It was those cuts that hurt. The others were barely stings, annoying more than anything else, but those that impacted his life lines were far worse. The physical damage was no different to those on the rest of his body, but as many had discovered after gaining life lines, damage to them was damage that was felt in the soul, and the soul could only take so much pain before it gave way.
This was the primary reason why elves and dwarves prohibited others from touching their life lines. Not only were they incredibly personal and sensitive, they were also pathways to the soul, an individual's weakest point. Rassa, despite his invincibility with most things, was no different.
On the eighth day after his last feed, Rassa was no better than when they'd given him the rabbit. He was in pain all over, and he could barely move. So when Jameson arrived on his morning rounds, Rassa did the only thing he could do, he rolled over onto his back to protect it.
Jameson spat the name, as if it was a curse.
"Did you have a nice rest?" asked Jameson, unsheathing his sword and poking it through the bars to prod at Rassa. Rassa felt the sword cut his into his skin at his waist, and turned his head to face Jameson.
"I didn't think you'd care enough to ask," Rassa managed a sarcastic reply. He resisted begging. He was hungry, but the small rational part of his mind that was left knew pigs would fly before Jameson gave permission for him to be fed.
Jameson looked down on Rassa in disdain, "What's wrong? Hunting not bountiful last night?"
Jameson smirked as Rassa's eyes narrowed.
Jameson flicked his sword again and a gash appeared on Rassa's stomach. A gash that even bled for a few minutes with blood so dark it was nearly black. Rassa felt himself grow even hungrier with the loss.
"Is this how it works? The hungrier you are the easier it is the kill you?"
Red Eyes chuckled inside Rassa's head, 'I will kill him first'.
Rassa, as he watched the bleeding finally stop as the wound began to knit itself together with an aching slowness, couldn't even bring himself to protest.
Scoffing at Rassa's lack of an answer, Jameson pulled back and turned away, "Enjoy the sun while you can, boy. In three days time, a Light Magician will arrive from Toulle. When they fail, I'm going to bury you in a hole so deep you'll wish I killed you first".
Red Eye's chuckles turned to a full on laugh, his mirth so prevalent that even Rassa couldn't resist the small smile that appeared on his face.
'Foolish humans...I only need two more days'
Rassa couldn't help the confusion that came over him.
'Two more days until what?'