50 The Boredom of a Chaos Child*
Rassa finished another book, dropping it on the floor beside the bed to join the tens of other books he'd been through in the last week. He placed an arm over his eyes breathing a deep sigh as he recalled and complied the information that he'd read through. He was beginning to discover that his memory had improved by leaps and bounds. He had never had access to such a large supply and variety of books, and despite the fact that reading in general had become quite boring, he was also learning quite a bit. In fact, his memory had almost come to the point where he only need recall an image of the book to be able to recite it start to finish. In some ways this discovery scared him, but in others it allowed him access to a broader knowledge base. One which allowed him to think more clearly and reasonably.
Nobody had really cared what books Rassa had been given. They'd gone for practically anything. There were a few volumes on Magician law and practice, histories of the Eldovian Era, books on the Geography of not only their own continent, but the Seven Isles which lay just off the southern coast, the southern continent, and the two continents on the other side of the Jade Sea. It was a lot to take in, but there seemed to be no problems for Rassa. He soaked up the information like a sponge, and when Erik the Scholar came to visit him every few days with more books, he quizzed Rassa out of curiosity. To see the twelve year old boy was capable of reciting exact quotes from books after merely a few days, the Scholar was quite impressed. It was through this that Erik started having more in depth conversations with Rassa, attempting to get the boy's opinion on political stances and trade negotiations. Rassa humoured him. Just a few hours before he'd finished up an argument about the line of succession for the Empire's throne. Apparently the rumour was that the entire Kildare family was struggling for heirs, and their children were only getting older. Erik had been adamant that if on the slim possibility the Kildare line was to die out, that the Reviks, the Empress's family, would be quick to take over the throne. Rassa had argued back that the loss of the Kildare line would make such massive waves in the political and economic structure of the Empire that they would no doubt descend once more into civil war, Reviks or not. When Rassa made his points clear through evidence, Erik had to admit that the boy was right.
"So what would you think society would have to do to avoid civil war?" asked Erik. He'd said it more as a passing thought, not actually expecting Rassa to answer.
"The Empirical way of thinking is too old anyway. Better to give cities control over themselves with the soul reason for peace being trade. No one city in this empire can survive on its own, it needs the others, so if they were to self-govern, they would need to communicate with each other. So the best way to avoid a civil war would be to create a council of representatives of the cities to oversee all-encompassing problems, and deal with smaller ones on their own".
Self-government? The idea had surprised Erik. This boy's way of thinking was near blasphemy for condemning the need for a royal family, but still...he made sense. The idea had left Erik in deep thought, and he'd left Arita's Laboratory with a renewed spark in his eyes.
Rassa smirked. He'd only mentioned the system because it was what he'd seen in his first lesson with Victor. That was how the Vampire Covens had governed. The Head of each Coven was considered royalty in their own right as whatever they said was law. But in terms of the Vampire race as a whole, there was a council of thirteen Covens. These Covens were the originals, and beneath them were several sub-covens that had grown as a result of their increased population and their inherent need to seek fresher pastures. Rassa had liked the idea of the system as soon as he'd seen it, though it was clear that it was also a system that was easily corrupted. Vampires were selfish beings afterall, in it for themselves and their individual Covens.
Arita entered then, leading in a small goat after her. Rassa turned, and the goat dug its hooves in. They were learning he was a predator, and they were the prey.
"Come here you silly thing, he won't kill you!" snapped Arita, trying to handle it closer to Rassa.
Rassa sighed, "Evening".
Arita grunted in response, finally shoving the goat close enough that Rassa could grab it. He hated being slower than before, he felt like it was one massive joke having these chains sucking his strength from him.
Arita sighed and leaned back against a nearby bench as she watched Rassa wrestle with the goat then sink his fangs into its neck.
Like he'd been doing since he'd realised he was capable of doing it, Rassa searched for that part of himself that could influence what his prey was feeling. He'd reach for an emotion of his own and try to force it upon his prey. Try to inject it, but every time he failed.
This time was no different. The goat was still terrified and in pain. Rassa withdrew and licked the wound to close it then grumbled as he turned back to the bed.
"You don't seem to be in a good mood," Arita commented as she waited for the goat to regain its ability to move.
Rassa sighed, "There is a certain ability that I know I have, but I haven't worked out how to use it yet. Or perhaps the chains are preventing me from doing so? I don't know. It's frustrating".
"What ability?" asked Arita.
Rassa hesitated a moment before he spoke, it wasn't like she'd been anything but nice to him...except for the chains, but he didn't blame her for that.
"When I was...well, more unreasonable. I discovered I was capable of making those I fed on feel something other than pain and fear. But I don't know exactly how I did it," Rassa said.
Arita nodded, curious. She didn't seem the least bit disturbed by the subject anymore. She'd watched him feed enough times.
"I'm sure you'll get it eventually, if your abilities are anything like your memory I'm sure they'll just click," Arita replied, "Do you need something else to read by the way?"
She pointed at the stack of books by Rassa's bedside.
"Not until morning," Rassa replied. Despite his boredom, he figured he'd take a break tonight. Besides, he was expecting Victor to awaken soon for another lesson.
Arita nodded as the goat got on its wobbly legs to stumble for the door, "I'll see you in the morning then".
"How's Jane?" asked Rassa.
Arita paused, looking back at the boy, "I can't say for sure, she left a week ago so she should be nearly in Barday by now. One of the Senior Apprentices went with her, so I'm sure she's fine".
Rassa just nodded.