150 A Ship, a Captain and a Vampire*
If he was being honest, as soon as Rassa stepped into the Captain's office he was on the verge of turning right back around and walking out. He'd thought it prudent that the Captain know his condition, but talking about it...Rassa hadn't ever been in a situation where he needed to explain himself. Because, with Jeremiah being in the position he was, there was no doubt he'd want an explanation.
Rassa could omit things of course, he was well within his rights to do so. But he also knew that the Captain had a way about him that allowed the man to know exactly when someone was hiding something from him. If the Captain thought that Rassa was hiding something when Rassa's condition was laid out plain to see...he might very well ask that Rassa leave the ship for fear of something happening to his crew. Rassa could respect that. But at the same time, he had no intention of lying about what he was anymore. He could blend in as much as he wanted, but there would be always be somebody that found out. Somebody that protested against his existence. It was time he accepted that and move forward. He'd dwelled in the past long enough.
But all these things are easier said than done. The first step is saying them.
"So," Jeremiah said as he rounded his desk, Rassa closing the door behind him as he stepped inside the office, "What do you have to say?"
Jeremiah could see those troubles in Rassa's eyes. The troubles he'd seen in that alley back when they'd first spoken.
"I think if you are intent on Ebony being herself, it should probably follow that I should be truthful about myself," Rassa replied.
Jeremiah crossed his arms over his chest, "Alright, out with it then".
Yep. Definitely easier said than done. It'd been easy with Sharli, Iah and the others at the Ruin because Rassa hadn't known them that well. He'd known only that they were going to be working under him, and that had given Rassa some thin form of reassurance that they wouldn't reject him. With Jeremiah it was the opposite. Jeremiah was the boss and Rassa was the employee. It was intimidating. The monster beneath Rassa's skin shivered in annoyance. It was not created to be submissive. How dare this lowly creature try to intimidate it.
Rassa sighed, pushing that voice down. It'd gotten easier as he'd come to accept more of himself, but it was still hard to ignore his instincts. He was a predator afterall.
Moving forward, Rassa took a seat to the side without being invited, if only so that when Jeremiah heard the truth of it, Rassa might appear smaller - that and not be in the way of the only exit to the room.
"I was born human," Rassa began, "But I am not anymore. I was altered. Altered in an irreversible way. That alteration has led many to fear me, to chain and imprison me, to use me for their own selfish desires. I have seen and felt more cruelty in the last six years that I wager you've experienced in your entire life. It is only recently that I have tried to move beyond it. To find my way in a world that does not accept me nor know how to".
Jeremiah listened, eyes narrowed as he took in Rassa's words. Rassa could tell he was trying to read between the lines that Rassa had drawn. To try and figure out what cruelties had been done to him. Rassa had thought he could say it aloud when he walked in, but the more the words spilled from his mouth the less okay he was with sharing that part of himself. With talking about what had happened to him.
"Why do they fear you?" asked Jeremiah.
"I would like to think it is because they do not understand me, but that is not entirely true," Rassa said, "They understand one thing, and they have narrowed their minds around that so quickly that they haven't had a chance to see anything else. So if I tell you the danger I pose to those on this ship, will you narrow your mind?"
Jeremiah continued to look at Rassa for a moment before the man sighed and moved to lean on the large meeting table across from Rassa's chair, "Narrow minds aren't very useful in this business, but I cannot tell you a definite answer until you tell me what it is that is so dangerous about you".
Rassa could see the logic in that. He liked that Jeremiah was honest. There were few of those men he'd met in his life.
"They fear my diet," Rassa stated, "I drink blood you see, straight from the source".
There was silence for a moment, as if Jeremiah hadn't expected that answer. He probably hadn't, he seemed noticably surprised. But there was no fear in his eyes. That was a good start.
"Yes," Rassa replied, "Once a day at most, and only about a glass full".
For a moment, Jeremiah looked to be contemplating where Rassa got the blood from, then the line 'straight from the source' registered, "I see".
As realisation dawned in Jeremiah's eyes, Rassa tensed. Was this it? Was he going to be kicked off the ship?
"You...fed on my crew?" asked Jeremiah.
"They have no idea," Rassa said quickly, "It's one of my abilities".
Rassa nodded, "A Vampire, what I am, is one of the magical races. We have Life Lines and therefore abilities".
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"So you can...make them unaware of you?" asked Jeremiah.
"No it's more...a very strong persuasion".
Jeremiah didn't know how he felt about that, but thankfully Rassa's actions had ensured that no one was in panic on his vessel.
"Any other abilities I should know about?" asked Jeremiah.
Jeremiah sighed, "Nevermind, I know magical races aren't inclined to share".
Jeremiah stood and paced his office, Rassa waiting impatiently and in a very tense state for Jeremiah to make his decision. Finally, Jeremiah paused and turned to Rassa.
"Can you promise that you will not harm my crew?"
Rassa nodded, "Of course. The crew isn't in any danger from me unless I'm locked away and starved".
Jeremiah could sense another story there, but from the look in Rassa's eyes decided not to pry.
"And they will continue to remain unaware?" asked Jeremiah.
Rassa realised that Jeremiah had no intention of informing the rest of the crew about Rassa's condition. Likely Rassa would have to continue to hide from them. It was not ideal, but Rassa could understand why Jeremiah would want that. He agreed, "I can do that".
"Then I will ferry you to the Southern Continent, but if anything happens, you will be held responsible. I cannot speak for the rest of the crew in this decision which is why I would prefer if you to kept quiet about it," Jeremiah stated. Then he frowned, "You can still eat normal food, you've been seen doing so".
Rassa grimaced, "I prefer not to".
Jeremiah sighed, "I don't know how else we can get around that..."
"Well...if it helps, I much prefer night time. I'm happy to be on perpetual night watch, that should somewhat limit my interactions with the crew," Rassa replied, "And I won't see them at meal times".
Jeremiah raised an eyebrow, "That why the hood is a permanent feature?"
Rassa nodded, "Sunlight hurts my eyes".
Jeremiah sighed, "I'll let Midas know about the night watch then. You report tomorrow for your first watch".
Rassa nodded again, standing, "Thankyou, Captain".
Jeremiah shook his head, "I can't say I'm completely convinced, but anyone who comes up with something like drinking blood is either insane or a very divergent individual. You're not insane, you're too lucid and intelligent for that".
Rassa shook his head, "Can't say I agree with either of those. I could be both for all I know. I haven't really had the chance to figure it out".
Jeremiah sighed, "Alright, off with you. I'm assuming you'll at least use some of that coin at the auction tonight".
Rassa wasn't sure about that. But he was sure that the last 100 Protection Charms were going to be a gold mine.