84 The Shadows Bring Death*
Rassa had no care who he encountered, prisoner or guard. They all died. He fed from the cleaner ones, and just left the others where they'd fallen. Some skewered to the wall, some impaled by their own pickaxes, some whose heads lay several metres from their bodies. He used his new abilities on some. They killed their companions, or found themselves choking on shadows. But no matter how they died, they all died in fear. And, considering how dark it was after the torches were snuffed out by the shadows, few of them actually saw their murderer.
The murderer himself was finding it hard to satiate his hunger. the unsealing had taken more out of him than he'd originally thought. He'd already drained ten individuals, yet he felt that his stomach still hadn't even filled to a half-way point. He felt it was strange, for he'd always been able to drain one or two others and feel that he was full in a sense, even if he'd been starving for a few days. Of course, the anthrite had masked it for some time, it's constant energy-sapping properties had made it impossible for Rassa to actually feel full, but he could still tell when his body no longer needed more. As he passed through tunnel after tunnel, and cavern after cavern of the deepest parts of the mines, he barely felt any of it. That guard who bravely stood against him, raising a sword above his head? The shadows grasped a hold of his limbs like chains, and ferried him to Rassa as his next meal.
As Rassa fed, a terrified prisoner snuck up behind him, lifting a large rock as it was all he could find. With a slight turn and a flick of Rassa's wrist, the prisoner found himself drowning in his own blood, clutching at his severed throat as he looked up to see the faint outline of claws as sharp as knives.
'What have they been keeping down there all these years?' the prisoner could not help but wonder as he struggled for his final breath, 'the only thing I ever saw them take down there, was a boy'.
A boy that had clearly been far more than he appeared. They hadn't known that the wolf was actually a ferocious beast when they'd brought it in. They'd just assumed they had to fear it, so they'd locked it away where it could do no harm.
One of the many faults of humanity, their inability to deal with anything new. It would only take one to take the first step, just one of them to show the rest that there were no faults or outstanding dangers in this new path. Yet no one had taken it, and even worse, they had dismissed those that already had.
There was no rhyme or reason to their actions, it was not logical nor fair to the monster they had no idea was sleeping beneath their feet. Just as to those humans, the monster's actions now were not fair or logical. And yet, they happened anyway.
As Rassa neared the entrance of mines, he caught a scent mixed in with the blood, a scent he very much would have liked to drown in blood and shadows. Rassa turned his head ever so slightly down another tunnel, dropping the corpse he'd decapitated to the ground.
Silence rung through the mines like bells at noon. Those that were left, the ones that had survived this long, were smart enough to know that screaming would only lead to their deaths sooner. They hid in dark corners and held their breath, waiting for their turn to come in the slaughter.
Rassa could sense they were there. He could smell their fear. That was new. He hadn't been able to smell emotions before. Fear mixed with blood and piss, there were a certain tang to it, that tang of death. It was by far the best smell Rassa had had the pleasure of smelling for a while.
But not with that other scent mixed in. Rose perfume.
Rassa's eyes narrowed, and to the eyes of the very few that were watching him from their hiding spots, he seemed to vanish, a brush of wind replacing him. Terrified that he would sense them and return if they dared move, they didn't leave the false safety the shadows offered them.
No one was present in the room when Rassa appeared, a brush of air ruffling his messy, dirty dark hair. His eyes pierced through the space, as black as night as they surveyed all that lay before them. From the scent in the air, and the instruments and notes cluttering the tables, this must have been Zaroth's laboratory.
Rassa's eyes fixed on the scent, the one he'd smelt from further down in the tunnels. Even in death her perfume reeked. The body was covered by a sheet, but even before he'd seen it Rassa had known she was dead. He'd just wanted to see how she'd died. Had it been painful? He hoped it had been.
Rassa approached the sheet, then took up a corner of it and pulled it back.
Zaroth had cleared attempted an autopsy, though there was not much left inside of her to look at. The entirety of her lower torso had been ripped apart and half consumed. Rassa's eyes narrowed.
She'd been ripped apart from the inside, and consumed. She'd been pregnant, and a human child would not have done this much damage.
That was not good, now Rassa had something else to hunt down, no doubt the Doctor had taken it with him when he went to Fountain Ridge. He faintly wondered how much destruction the little monster had caused before his dearest grandfather had worked out that he'd made a mistake.
Rassa turned to leave, dismissing what was left of Seri like the foul being she was, then something caught the corner of his eye, and he froze.
Rassa turned to look to the corner of the laboratory where a tall glass jar stood. Floating in a horrid looking orange liquid and sealed away...his Life Line, the one that had been stolen from him and never returned.
Rassa was there in an instant, if he could recover that Life Line, that part of him that had been exposed all these years would be far less vulnerable. Grinning in victory, Rassa smashed the jar, retrieving the small patch of skin no bigger than the leaf of an oak tree.
Calling on the power of his Life Lines, Rassa looked in the reflection of another glass jar, and carefully placed the skin back in its proper position.
His Life Lines seared on his back, burning as they worked to reattach that which had been lost. Rassa gritted his teeth through the pain, through the burning and the stitching of his skin.
After a moment, he released a breath and stood straight once more, then, before he could move forward, he felt something he hadn't realised was even lost.
What was it that Victor had warned him? That if a Life Line was lost, a part of his soul would be lost as well?
Now that the Life Line was replaced, Rassa felt that portion of his soul once more, he felt everything he'd lost all this time. And it came crashing down upon him like a tidal wave.
Rassa fell to his knees in shock and realisation. No wonder. It was no wonder he had only ever felt rage at what was being done to him all these years. Never sadness, never fear. Not true fear anyway, not the fear that could break him and turn him into nothing more than a shadow of himself.
That Life Line, that piece of him that was lost...it had been his sympathy. His ability to connect with anyone emotionally, to feel sorry for himself. Now that it was back?
Rassa felt tears fall as his rage and anger dissipated in seconds.