279 The Dead through the Doorway
Aegin had heard the storm well before the Mariner had seen any signs of it on the horizon. A ship like the Miranda would have stood no chance, even with her fine crew. But the Mariner did not rely on sails. It relied on what the Yilish called engines.
Their own invention, created through years of hard work and dedication. Still, even then, the Ocean was not exactly forgiving. There were more ways that this storm could make a situation could turn dire other than the wind it generated.
Aegin had known it would be bad. So he'd made sure that Devina would stay out of the way. His bond with her pushing him to make sure she was safe. She hadn't reacted well. He'd seen the same panic in her eyes at the first time he'd refused to feed from her. But he hadn't the time to explain what was going to happen, that feeding at a time like this would only make her drowsy in a time where she needed to be alert. Of course, knocking her out has essentially disregarded that thinking, but he was confident she'd wake up before the storm hit, and hopefully have the sense to then stay in her room.
Sure enough, without waiting to see if anyone was ready or asking politely, the storm arrived an hour after sunset.
The rain began to falling, the pour. Then the waves grew larger as the wind started to whistle. Most retreated inside then, escaping the weather, but luckily for them, few picked up on the uneasy gazes cast by the crew. Though, it only took one passenger to ask the question.
"Is everything alright?"
Aegin stood on the side as he watched the crew member glance at another more senior member of staff before forcing a smile back at the passenger, "I'm sure everything will be fine, but perhaps you should turn in for the night to be safe".
Aegin couldn't help but roll his eyes as he pushed away from the wall he was leaning against and turn down a nearby hall. At least instill some confidence in your passengers.
Sure enough, a half hour later, when the waves had grown exponentially bigger, the passengers and crew both were in a state of panic. Aegin had no idea what the Captain was doing. But frankly he didn't really care so long as the boat stayed a float. He was not swimming the last week to the Western Continent. He wasn't even entirely sure that he could.
Aegin caught himself on the railing as the ship tipped dangerously in one direction before crashing down hard into the waves, the ocean water splattering onto the deck at the end of the hall and flooding down towards him. A door was pulled open cautiously beside him. He turned to look at the young boy poking his head out.
Aegin gritted his teeth and took hold of the handle, "Stay inside, kid!"
The boy retreated quickly and Aegin pulled the door closed. Aegin continued his way down the hall towards the outside portion of the deck. His balance was better than most thanks to his abilities, but even he had to catch himself a couple of times as he moved so as not to face plant a wall.
He moved outside, instantly drenched, or rather re-drenched, by the torrential downpour happening outside as well as the ocean water battering any open space it could get to. Aegin had made his way through every deck twice now. Keeping everyone inside their cabins where the crew hadn't managed to get. There were many of them, but most of them were working on ensuring the stability of the ship. Those that were spared to take care of the passengers were missing a few in their rush.
Aegin turned at the bow and climbed the stairs up to the next deck. The deck with the main dining hall. Opening the doors to get in, Aegin looked around at the chaos within in wonder. The crew clearly hadn't had the time to clean up the buffet before the storm got worse. There was food and furniture strewn everywhere on nearly every surface. It would take a miracle to clean this place up in the hours before breakfast.
The ship tilted forward and the loose furniture and food all of a sudden began to roll towards Aegin. His eyes widened, and he quickly jumped up, planting his feet on the wall above the door before propelling himself forward through the mess. the leg of a glanced off his shoulder, and a fork snicked his thigh before he landed and rolled. He heard the resounding crash of not only the furniture in the dining room, but also whatever was in the kitchen next door. Followed by a distinct shout of pain.
Aegin's head snapped towards it, and he moved towards the kitchen doors as the ship began to level out again. He forced open the doors turning to the side, he came face to face with a middle aged woman who was pinned to the wall with a knife straight through her stomach.
Her eyes met Aegin's and he could see the pain there as well as the knowing. The knowing that she wouldn't get out of this alive.
"My son, please," she managed, "He...a pot swung loose, he's unconscious, I can't reach him".
Aegin followed her shaky hand to spy a young boy half hidden under the debris. He moved quickly, shifting the food, pots and trays out of the way to fish the boy out as the ship began to climb another wave.
Aegin sensed it coming for him just as he scooped up the boy. He braced himself, shielding the boy.
Something heavy hit him hard in his back. The air whooshed from him, and something stabbed right through his abdomen and into the boy.
Aegin looked down in horror as the boy was woken in shock by the pain. The boy met his eyes, blood starting to leak from his lips. He can't have been more than six. To die in such pain...
Aegin didn't even hesitate.
As his fangs sunk into the boy's neck, he pushed only peace and painlessness forward. He took away the pain. Took it away and drank quickly so that the boy died quickly. As he withdrew, the heavy object that had impaled him pulling away as the ship tilted again, Aegin gasped air and felt his body desperately repairing the damage to his abdomen.
He closed his eyes as he looked down at the boy, then shifted and heaved himself over to the mother whose tears had dominated her eyes.
Aegin held the boy up, and she took him in her arms.
Aegin looked at her, meeting her gaze.
"It was painless and peaceful. I made sure," he said.
He didn't know what it was about his words that made her believe him. But she could see in that instant that she did. His question to her was silent, and she closed her eyes in response.
Aegin leaned forward and gave her the same end.
He withdrew a minute later, licking over the wound as he had with the boy to conceal his presence, then he turned away.
He didn't know how long she'd been standing there. But the horror in her eyes was plain to see right up until she met his gaze. Her words then were perhaps not as condemning as she had originally intended.
"What...what have you done?"