87 The First Flight*
No sooner had Rassa been stopped cold by Ebony's request than he felt something was immensely wrong. His Life Lines tingled, warning him of something. Something that was rapidly spiralling out of his control. At first, he'd thought that he himself was under threat, that Ebony, or one of the other survivors meant him harm. But he sensed nothing beyond Ebony's complete and utter loss of self. From the little Rassa had been able to ascertain by watching Ebony, it was clear that she'd been a slave since birth. A higher class of slave given that she hadn't been fed to him, but a slave none the less. She had no clue how to live for herself, the thought was completely and utterly daunting to her. So daunting she'd asked the young man who'd been a prisoner for the past five years and had spent the last several hours slaughtering his way through her home, for help.
The boy that had been would have sympathised. He would have cared for her. But Rassa was not that boy anymore. Did that mean he would abandon her though? No. She could be useful. At the very least she would be able to aid him in making the time he planned to spend in Jerrica shorter. Rassa's eyes narrowed.
"Are you literate?"
In truth, Rassa hadn't planned on using his wings, not until he got used to the feeling of flight, but he had little choice in the matter. Despite his speed, the amount of obstacles in his way between here and where his Life Lines were urging him to go were too many, they would slow him down even with his speed.
Rassa had no care for the ripping of fabric he heard as he recalled his wings. At least, none beyond the fact that he'd just gotten this shirt and would no doubt soon need to find another.
He'd picked up a couple of short swords that the guards had been holding and as he strapped them to his waist he couldn't help but think about the fact that realistically, he didn't actually need the swords. His claws were more than enough. Only, he'd just had a bath.
He was probably being optimistic by thinking he could get out of whatever was waiting for him without cleaning himself again. Still, it was the thought that counted.
Rassa moved forward to one of the few balconies that overlooked the large expanse between the mountains to the east and west before reaching the wall and the forest beyond. With his strength, Rassa figured it was probable that he would be able to lift off the ground. No he knew it was possible. But He'd never actually flown before. Gliding, even if only for a couple of minutes, would hopefully be enough for him to get used to the feeling of flight.
At least he hoped. He didn't exactly have much time to spare. The tingling in his Life Lines was becoming more and more pronounced.
Taking a deep breath, Rassa stepped up onto the railing and let the wind brush over his face and through his new clothing. His hair immediately whipped across his face, it's length instantly bothering Rassa. With a discontented sneer, Rassa extended the claws on his left hand, gathered his hair with his right and sliced the length of his hair off. It was by no means a perfect cut, but at least it wasn't whipping him in the face anymore. Bracing his legs, Rassa extended his wings out to their full length, a wingspan of over nine metres. His wings were so large that Rassa wondered why on earth he would need such a length. The reason became apparent as Rassa leaned forward and fell.
He was not proficient in the art of flying, so despite the immense height Rassa started at, it took him several seconds before he was able to grasp hold of the feeling of keeping himself aloft. He'd lost nearly half of his altitude in the fall, and the strain on his back muscles to hold his wings in position as he glided was immense. Even with his vampiric strength, these muscles were ones he was not used to controlling. With the wind pelting at his wings from below, Rassa had to call on even more strength to drag his wings down to gain more altitude. He very quickly had sailed over the wall and traversed the top of the forest on the plateau between mountains, but he knew he could get more speed out of his wings. As he folded his wings to lift them high and then spread them out again, his stomach flipped at the sudden drop in altitude as he took too long to unfurl his wings once more. Not that he hadn't already lost his stomach somewhere a few kilometres back.
As Rassa slowly got used to the motion and the strain on his back, it became abundantly clear why his wings were so big, any smaller and he would have trouble keeping himself aloft, especially his legs, which unless he was going at a high speed, dragged like dead weight behind him. No wonder Vampires had found it so inconvenient to fly in the everyday. It made Rassa wonder why they'd even bothered in battles. If not for the benefit of having airborne forces, Rassa was sure that Vampires would have abandoned flying altogether.
As he climbed higher and distanced himself further from Jerrica, Rassa turned his attention to following the pull from his Life Lines. Due west of the mountain range. He banked in that direction, and then, with the clear skies and an unobstructed view before him, Rassa called on his power over the shadows.
One might wonder why Rassa had not called on this ability before, after all, travelling via shadows was far faster than any other form of travel, but the ability had one large drawback. Rassa could not access the shadows to go somewhere he could not see, or had not been to before.
By climbing to the heights, he had, he had an unobstructed view of hundreds of kilometres, and could therefore see far further than when he was on the ground.
Pulling himself into the shadows of the ground far beneath him, Rassa travelled nearly instantaneously across nearly two hundred kilometres before he found himself airborne once more in a new area. To the North, he could see the outline of the Academy City on the horizon, but that was not his destination, he needed to go further.
Rassa chose a position to the west, and dragged himself into the shadows once more.