258 A Song of Starvation
*Eldovian Era 1713, 12th day of the 11th month*
Before he had awoken with his body aching with weakness and his throat so dry he felt as if he had never had a drop of liquid pass through his lips, Aegin had quite enjoyed satisfying his hunger. He'd looked forward to the prospect of his next meal, and barely given it a second thought if he'd picked up a snack along the way. Better yet, if he missed a meal or two, the most he would pay was that he'd be a little hungry. His training as a Ridge Man had allowed him some insight to what it felt like to starve as a human. But he'd never realised how important those last two words were, because starving as a human was nothing like starving as a Vampire.
Starving as a Vampire, as Aegin discovered the hard way, came in stages. At first, it was a mere urge to take more rather than stop. An urge that existed even when he was full thanks to the divine taste blood had to him now. He had fallen prey to that urge more than once, and the guilt for taking those lives existed no matter the sins that had drawn Aegin to feed from them in the first place.
The second stage was more than a mere urge, it was a necessity. The aches began to set in and his strength and speed began to wane. He found his senses less sensitive, and his body more sensitive to temperature. Only a good meal could make it go away, and the longer he waited the more prevalent the consequences became.
In the third stage he officially began to enter the sub-death. While still fully aware of his surroundings, it became increasingly hard for him to move. This stage was as far as Aegin had dared to push himself. He may have left those he called family behind, but he still took the words of the one who turned him seriously in those dark and hungering moments when he'd starved himself. As if those words had been given by his old commander, an order he couldn't refuse.
A part of him resented that order. The part of him that still desired freedom and the right to choose for himself. The other part, the part that was still new to him, was grateful. Like a student thanking a master, or a son thanking his father for some life changing advice. The amount of dedication he felt towards that figure who had given the order, it only made him feel anger and frustration.
As for the fourth and fifth stages, he only knew of them because of his time with…well, his time when he'd been human. The fourth stage would involve a burst of desperate violence in an attempt to relieve his hunger, and the fifth, of course, was the sub-death.
In the three months since he had left, Aegin had spent the first 2 degrading to the third stage where that subconscious order remained and he was forced to feed before falling further. In the last month, after he'd found himself on the verge of those violent tendencies with his thoughts turning to favour such frenzied behaviour, he had decided that it was best if he fed more regularly.
One failure of his new reality, however, was that he was not 'unsealed'. Due to this, he did not sense or could not use any of the powers he���d seen used by the other like him. This inevitably meant that anyone he fed upon was aware of his feeding, and was more than capable of spreading the word if he let them live. So, he couldn't let them live.
Killing was nothing new to Aegin. He'd done it as a Ridge Man and he'd done it as a Warrior Slave on Herguard, but those kills were ones he had to work for. Killing as a Vampire was easy. Too easy. So easy it often scared him and made him truly think about the kind of damage he was capable of causing if he let himself get out of control. The power he wielded even as a sealed Vampire was terrifying. Not just because of what he could do, but also because more often than not he found himself enjoying it, and that was much worse.
The Port City of Estode had been his hunting grounds for most of those three months since he'd been turned. He'd spent the first part running as far away from his 'before' that he could. It was situated halfway down the Western coast of the Southern Continent. But the reason Aegin had decided to stay was that the ships coming and going from the port were very rarely from Eldovia. They were more frequently from other Southern Countries, or the Western Continent.
Staying in Estode meant that Aegin had had plenty of time to get a sense of the local population. What he had learned was that merchant and noble, commoner and slave, were all partial to the Western Continent's abundant Jewels. They were dressed in it every day, and without any adornments he'd stood out like a sore thumb. He'd ended up buying a small necklace just to get people to stop staring. Ironically with a bloodstone as the only gem. The truth was though that Aegin loathed the gaudy lavishness of it all. He longed for a simpler attitude and way of life that had never been afforded to him. Nothing so arrogant or self-important or political and conniving.
Sometimes the people in Estode just made him want to –
No. That wasn't right. They hadn't done anything wrong. He would only feed from those who deserved death. It had been a decision he'd made almost immediately. The hunger deep within him always grumbled in protest at his refusal to just help himself. Because the hunger was more than just hunger for a Vampire. It was also a need to dominate and be violent and powerful and awed. A need to create…chaos.
That was his fate now. Chaos. Not the freedom he'd dreamed of. He'd tasted that freedom for all of a few minutes before he'd been sentenced to eternity in the shadows. It certainly felt like a sentence anyway, like he was being punished. Though no part of him was going to seek out what that punishment was. Not since he'd been practically banished by that…Other.
Because the name of the one who turned him would not be spoken now. Three months was a decent span of time. Enough for some of the anger to fade. For Aegin to begin to understand that there were likely other reasons that he hadn't stuck around to listen to. That there was no other choice for his survival than this. But just as he'd reached a point where he'd been lucid enough to wonder if he'd left too soon, if he'd been too rash in his decision, he'd taken the Tracking Charm out for the first time in a long time and wondered why no one had come after him. Not even Ebony, whom he'd spent some of the darkest moments with in the last few years.
The answer had been clear in the next few seconds when the Charm refused to activate. When he'd used it before he'd only felt a vague warmth, but now he could actually see the Mist as it entered and interacted with the Charm. Mist that utterly refused his will.
He had been cut off, abandoned, and now he was lost. Whose fault was that? Was there anyone at fault? Aegin blamed that Other. But the Hunger…the Hunger blamed Aegin.
You abandoned them. You left them behind. Traitor. Aegin the Traitor.
Bloodthorn had become all the more fitting when he'd been turned…but in his darkest and loneliest moments, Aegin the Traitor had a nicer ring to it.