280 The Bowing of Burdens
Devina followed Aegin quickly as he made his way into the Marina's public lounge. The storm barely seemed to affect him. He was unmoved by the wildly shifting ship and the thrashing water.
"Aegin!" she called, "Wait, Aegin!"
She caught the door as it swung closed behind him, just as the ship pitched sideways. Her grip loosened as she was thrown back against the port side railing. She screamed as her upper body began to tip over. Her eyes wide with fear as she turned to look at the dark crashing sea below.
Then, just as suddenly as she'd lost her balance, she found herself against the wall inside the lounge, Aegin looking down at her with a harsh gaze, "I told you to stay inside the cabin".
Breathless for a moment, Devina swallowed to clear her clogged throat then spoke again, "What did you do to them?"
Aegin sighed, releasing her and turning away, "I really don't have the time or the patience to explain my every thought to you, Devina. This storm isn't going away any time soon and the more time I waste with you the more likely someone else is going to die".
Devina hesitated before hurrying after him as he made his way through the lounge. Most of the furniture here was fixed to the floor, so it didn't have the problem of shifting around like the Dining Hall and Kitchen did.
"So you weren't just feeding because you were hungry?" asked Devina, "You didn't seek to kill them yourself?"
Aegin didn't even turn back towards her as he threw another door open, "I would have thought you heard me when I told you that I don't relish killing".
"Then what were you doing? Killing them faster? Their wounds were pretty serious," Devina insisted as she followed him through.
The ship pitched again and she stumbled. Aegin was there once more, placing her hand on the railing and ensuring she gripped it as he looked back at her in annoyance, "At least hold on to something".
"You're going too fast," Devina replied.
"Which is why I asked you to stay in the cabin," Aegin growled back.
Devina frowned, "I'm a Priestess of the Holy Order. I've been trained to help others since I was a child. I'm not going to sit back and let anyone in need die".
"Then shut up and help me," Aegin snapped, "Because all you're currently doing is wasting my time".
Devina glared at him a moment before she huffed her reply, "Fine, lead the way".
Aegin turned around and continued through the lounge, Devina followed behind him carefully, summoning a small ball of light into her hand which she sent forward.
Aegin hissed in displeasure as he turned his head away, "Turn that off, would you?"
Devina kept it where it was, "I can barely see a thing".
"Well I see much better without it," Aegin replied.
Devina pulled it back so it was behind him but in front of her, "I'll keep it here then".
Aegin turned away in a huff but didn't argue as he continued moving.
They didn't speak to each other as they moved through the rooms and up the different decks. Occasionally, Aegin would pause and open a door beside them where passengers were hiding. He'd then take the time to bring them back to their rooms before continuing his search. After an hour, when the storm had begun to lesson a little and the huge ship was miraculously still floating, they reached the uppermost deck. There they found a family huddling in one of the storage houses together with a maid.
Aegin took one look at them then turned to Devina, stand here, I'll help them to the railing one at a time.
"You're a light Magician, yes?" asked the mother as she looked at Devina.
Devina turned to her in curiosity, "Yes?"
The mother moved slightly to the side. There, a boy no more than five lay in the arms of an older girl, unconscious and remarkably pale, "Please, you need to save him".
Devina looked over at Aegin. Aegin gritted his teeth before he nodded at her. Devina moved forward slowly, kneeling beside the boy as she drew on the power of her Life Lines and reached her hands towards the boy.
"What happened?" she heard Aegin ask.
"The ship pitched too suddenly. He was thrown into the wall," the mother whimpered, "He's been unconscious since".
A head injury was most likely, and as Devina hovered her hand over the boy's head, she realised with certainty that there was no way she could save him. It'd been too long since it'd happened. He was bleeding inside, and had a few broken bones on top of the affect the impact had had on his brain.
Devina drew back, her eyes closed in sadness, "I'm sorry, it's too late. Even if I were to heal him, he will not wake up".
The mother sobbed into her hands at the news. Aegin catching her as the ship tipped once more. Despite the sadness in the room, Aegin knew that they had to be moved somewhere safer.
"We need to go. Devina, take them across, I'll carry the boy".
Devina looked over her shoulder at Aegin, "But-"
"We don't have time to argue, Devina," said Aegin.
Aegin's gaze met hers. There was no ill-intent there. Just the same sadness reflected in hers, and a determination to save those he could.
Devina stood and began ferrying them over, the maid included. Aegin took the boy as Devina took the mother across last. She paused in the doorway looking back at Aegin. Aegin gave her a small nod. Devina closed her eyes, her entire being telling her that when she saw the boy again, he would not be clinging to the last of the life in him. Then she turned and took the mother across.
She began ushering the family down as she heard the door of the storage room on the opposite side of the deck. Aegin carried the boy closely as they made their way down to the family's room.
The mother sobbed as Aegin passed her the boy's body and she realised that her son had passed. Still, as Devina looked at the little boy, she saw no pain, no fear, only peace.
"Thank you," the mother said softly, "Thank you both".
Then Aegin and Devina returned to their room as the storm made it's last booming threats.
"Why?" asked Devina.
Aegin sighed as he righted one of the chairs in their room and took off his soaked jacket.
"When I feed from you, apart from the initial bite, do you feel pain?" asked Aegin.
Devina hesitated before she shook her head, "No, but I thought that was normal".
Aegin shook his head, "The Paralysis is normal, after all, Prey that can't fight back is far easier to feed from, but the pain, that would be constant if I did not take it away".
Devina's eyes widened, "That's why you fed from them, not because you were hungry, but to take their pain away".
Aegin sighed as he sat back in the chair, "It's a little more than that. I can take the pain away, but I can also push other emotions back. Like peace, tranquility, happiness".
Devina was silent as she sank into the other chair beside him.
"I just figured that dying in peace was better than dying in fear and pain".
Devina watched him for a long moment before his lavender eyes flicked up to meet hers.
"You really don't wish to kill, do you?"
Aegin just stared back at her.
"Then why...? I mean, I understand that you fear those that would give you negative attention, but-"
"I do not fear them, they are of no consequence to me when I can defeat them so easily," Aegin corrected, "No, it is not fear that pushes me to kill".
"Then what is it?" asked Devina.
Aegin was silent for a long moment, so long that Devina was certain he would not reply. That he would close himself off again. But then he spoke.
"When you draw on your power, where do you draw it from? What is it's origin?" asked Aegin.
Devina frowned, "It comes from within. From my own energy".
Aegin continued, "With your Life Lines as the conduit, yes?"
Devina nodded in agreement.
"Well, my power is not generated from within, my power comes from what I take from others, and my Life Lines make it my own. At least, that is my understanding," said Aegin, "When you run out of energy, what happens?"
Devina paused, "We fall unconscious and if it is not remedied, we die".
Aegin looked back at her, "It is the same for me. If I do not take in energy, I will eventually die. Perhaps it may take far longer for me that it would for you, but it will happen. In saying that, do you think I have a chance to explain that to everyone else? To have them understand that this is not a joy, but a burden I must bare to survive?"
Devina's eyes widened in realisation and Aegin nodded.
"It is easier to kill those who will not give me a chance to speak, than it is to present myself the way I am, and ask for acceptance from a stranger that knows nothing," said Aegin.