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The Monster Inside: The First Vampire
Author :Jelim
© Wuxiaworld

137 A Surname*

When Rassa and Kit returned that afternoon, it was to find that those in residence at The Ruin had done their best to clean up the kitchen. Rassa and Kit handed out apples to the children who were more than shocked to realise that they were able to eat a whole apple each. While Sharli and Iah did their best to ensure the children didn't make themselves sick by scarfing down what was given to them, Rassa had Kit sit down at a makeshift table and start etching away at a piece of paper.

"I'll be back in an hour or so, make sure no one touches the food or they don't get to join in the feast tonight," Rassa ordered. Kit nodded obediently then watched as Rassa seemed to dissolve into the shadows.

Aegin was right where Rassa had left him, hanging out in a cave half way up the volcano on Rouke Island, napping amongst crates of Evanine Crystals.
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Rassa kicked his boot, jolting his friend awake. Aegin sat up with a dagger in hand, only to relax when he realised who it was that had awoken him. He sheathed the dagger and stretched high as he yawned.

"So, how went the house hunting?"

"Alright," Rassa replied, he handed the deed he'd retrieved from the salesman whilst out with Kit, and Aegin read it out, smirking at the name he found at the bottom.

"Moonshadow?" asked Aegin.

Rassa rolled his eyes, snatching back the sheet, "You try and come up with a name on the spot".

Aegin shrugged, "No, actually, I think it suits you".

Rassa raised an eyebrow.

"It kind of reminds me of that night in Fountain Ridge when you dropped from the skies, your wings spread wide enough to block out the light from the moon," Aegin replied, "Rassa Moonshadow".

Rassa could tell Aegin was serious, a far cry from the teasing he'd expected. Rassa scoffed, "That's more menacing a thought than I had intended. Not sure if I even wanted to invoke certain thoughts with my name. I just combined two things that I feel reflect who I am. What I am".

Aegin stood as he stretched out, "Well, it could change I suppose, but I like I said. I think it suits you. Rassa Moonshadow. Sounds both foreboding and powerful.

Rassa's eyes narrowed, "Like I said, there was no such intention behind it. Out of curiosity, if you had to pick your own last name, what would you go for?"


Aegin seemed surprised, then shrugged, "I'm not anyone important, Rassa, I don't need a last name".

"Humour me," Rassa smirked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Aegin thought for a moment, then smiled faintly, "When I was amongst the Ridge Men, daggers were the weapons I happened to pick up the fastest. Considering how young I was, I was nicknamed 'little thorn' by some of the older instructors. It didn't stick once I started training in other weapons, but I always liked the thorn analogy. Don't really know why".

"Aegin Thorn," Rassa tested, "It's not bad, feels incomplete though".

"Oh? What else would you add to it?"

"I don't know yet, I'm sure we'll figure it out along the way though," Rassa replied.

Aegin shrugged, "I don't need a last name, so I doubt it".

Aegin turned to the crates of crystals behind him, "So are we moving them?".

"Not quite yet, gotta get the area ready," Rassa said, "But I figured you were bored up here and wondered if you were in the mood for a feast".

"A feast implies food so, obviously," Aegin grinned.

"Great".

Rassa held out a hand. Aegin grimaced. He hated the shadow travel that Rassa used, it always made him feel queasy. Aegin reached out a hand hesitantly and took Rassa's before he felt his body lurch and split and melt before reassembling again. He turned pale as his stomach protested just like he knew it would. He caught his breath as he leaned against a wall, the warehouse in Port Cresh from what he managed to acknowledge in his state.

Ebony waited to the side, counting the coins she'd made that day.

"Good afternoon," she stated, "Did you find what you were looking for?"

"Yes, and I'm having a feast to celebrate, though could use your help with the cooking considering me taste testing things will be pretty useless," Rassa smiled.

Ebony rolled her eyes, "A feast? How many people are you invitied".

"The new place came with...staff".

Ebony frowned, "Staff?"

Rassa nodded, "They are now".

Ebony's frown deepened, "What were they before?"

"Not really a concern now," Rassa replied, holding out his hand, "You finished counting?"

Ebony nodded, indicating to the two piles. Rassa stretched out his shadows and swallowed one pile of coins.

"Where do they go when you do that?" asked Ebony.

"Everywhere and nowhere," Rassa replied.

"Huh?"

"It's hard to explain," Rassa smiled.

"Why can't you do that with the crystals?"

"Cause I'm still technically carrying the weight," Rassa replied, "And those crates aren't light".

"So, where are we headed?" asked Ebony, deciding to end that train of conversation before Rassa started on an explanation that neither she nor Aegin would understand.

"It's a surprise".

***

Ebony stirred the pot of soup awkwardly as her eyes moved around the room, or what was left of the room. When Rassa had said 'surprise', an affective ruin full of orphans was not what she had pictured.

Still, she wouldn't deny him. She could tell that he'd found something here, and as the children witnessed more and more dishes be cooked and set on the table, she realised that they had unintentionally found something as well.

The boy Kit was the biggest surprise. Staying hidden for so long, awakening so young. She didn't like the tought of what could have happened to him to make him awaken. After all, Magicians were made through severe circumstances. Usually something life threatening, and often traumatic. What could have happened to him? Ebony couldn't get the thought out of her head.

The way that Kit looked up to Rassa though, as he studied and sketched various runes all afternoon. It was like he'd found a hero. Like he'd found the idol he'd always dreamed of. Rassa was patient with him, but Ebony could see the cogs of Rassa's schemes ticking.

The fact that this was the first individual Rassa had attempted to teach the Runes to made Ebony admittedly jealous. She'd asked before if she could help, and she'd become a saleswoman. Before she'd seen him interact with Kit she'd somehow thought that her and Aegin were enough. That somehow the three of them would get by together. But Kit...

Ebony couldn't help but ask when Rassa came to check on her progress, "Why do you teach him?"

"Because he can learn," Rassa replied.

Ebony frowned at the insult. Rassa seemed to pick up on her anger and he smiled sadly, "To draw runes on the crystals, or to draw them in general, you need more than anything to understand them. And to understand them, you need an understanding of the Mist those runes can command. I have no doubt that if you could understand the Mist, Ebony, you could learn, Aegin could learn. But you have no connection to the Mist. How can you understand it if you cannot even see it?"

It was a somewhat cruel way to put it, but Ebony understood immediately why letting others know that drawing on the crystals was the only part of the process in making the charms. They could draw and draw as much as they wished, but without an understanding of the Mist which most of them could not see let alone comprehend, they would fall short. The charms could be activated by anyone, but only a few could make them.

"You are not useless to me, neither is Aegin. Just as I like to think I am not useless to the both of you," Rassa replied, "We're in this together, you know it'd take a lot more for me to leave you behind right? You were there when I needed you the most, when I was at my worst, you still are."

"Of course we are," Ebony replied, feeling somewhat better at his reassurance, "You're like a brother to me".

"And you a sister to me," Rassa smiled, "So how's the food coming, sis?"

Ebony rolled her eyes, "Done".

"I'll gather the hungry hoards then".

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