310 The Woe of a Wastrel
Sevis wasn't sure if it was minutes or hours that had gone by when the howling of the wind finally died away. What he was sure of though, as he stood with wide and disbelieving eyes at the place that was his home, was that the wish that had granted his Tribe safety and prosperity so long ago was no more.
If the Red-Eyed Snake Tribe managed to survive this decimation intact, he would count that as miracle enough.
"…S…Sevis!" Sevis turned to see Tigin stumbling towards him, navigating between the rubble that used to be the Beins of their village. So many homes ripped to shreds, and while he had yet to check, he had to conclude that those that had been within had not fared any better.
"Here!" Sevis called, the dust still settling around them and making it more difficult to see.
Tigin came to his side, coughing at the dust and waving his hand before him. He had a cut on his arm.
"You okay?" asked Sevis.
Tigin nodded, "Fine, I've got to find Rima".
Sevis caught his arm, "Aegin would find her faster".
Tigin frowned then pointed to the devastation before them, "Knowing Aegin, he would have been in the middle of that, he probably still is!"
Sevis frowned, "We should go help him".
Tigin sighed, "Did you miss the part where their fight levelled your entire village? How exactly do you intend to fight among that?"
Sevis turned, looking around before he spotted a sword among the rubble. He picked it up, then stepped forward, "Did you miss the part where he barely scraped by with the Sand Devils?"
Tigin sighed, "We're checking Rima's Bein first".
Sevis didn't argue as the two began walking forward through the rubble, checking on anyone they found. Most, despite Sevis' false hope, were dead. There were a few that were still alive, though barely conscious given the circumstances. It took them longer than they'd hoped to get to Rima's Bein.
Not that one would call it a Bein anymore.
The only part of it left were the stumps of the wooden frame and a few sandstone bricks The rest was gone, no Rima in sight. Sevis clapped a hand on Tigin's tense shoulder.
"We'll find her," said Sevis.
Tigin closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he nodded, "If we get to Aegin it'll be faster".
So, they followed the trail of destruction through the village, then beyond the little valley that the Tribe called home and out into the desert beyond. It wasn't hard to see where the fight had gone, trails of debris on either side of a smoothed ground led several kilometres out. Finally, the debris seemed to lessen, then stop all together.
Sevis eyed the horizon, but he saw no signs of life out there.
"Aegin?" asked Tigin in surprise.
Sevis's head snapped to Tigin, then followed his gaze. There, among the debris, lay a naked man with brown hair. He was curled up, his back facing them, dark, black lines of his upper back and shoulders contrasting greatly with his pale skin. Sevis had never seen those lines of Aegin, but as he thought about it, he realised he'd never actually seen Aegin without a shirt on either.
"Aegin!" called Tigin, sure as he moved forward.
"No!" the warning came out as a growl, and Tigin and Sevis both paused, "Don't come any closer…I…I don't want to hurt you".
Tigin looked back at Sevis, and Sevis frowned with him, "Aegin, what's wrong?"
There was no reply for a long moment, then Aegin seemed to choke on his words, "Hungry…I…I'm so hungry".
Sevis's eyes widened, "He's too weak. He needs blood".
Tigin sighed, "Can you hold back or not?"
"If he can barely move, he's on the verge of starving, he'll likely need to drain whatever he feeds on," said Sevis, "I'll head back to the village and see what I can find".
Sevis turned and ran back down the trail of destruction. Tigin approached slowly, sitting down on a larger piece of rubble a few metres from Aegin, "Come on, Aegin, you gotta pull through this. Rima��s still missing, we've got to find her".
Aegin didn't reply again for a long moment before his shoulders shook, and Tigin tensed, ready to move away should Aegin lose control, "I…I'm sorry, Tigin. I couldn't stop him…I'm too weak".
Tigin frowned, realising that his shaking shoulders were not a sign of his failure in control, but his failure to succeed at whatever had happened with the Djinn.
"Aegin…we don't blame you. It's not like you can fight against sand and wind, I-"
"He took Rima".
Tigin stilled, his gaze focusing on Aegin's back, "What?"
"He…he took Rima. And I couldn't do anything to stop him".
*Eldovian Era 1714, 15th day of the 4th month*
Sevis approached where Tigin sat a hundred metres or so from where they'd brought Aegin in the early hours of the morning. They'd allowed him to feed on those who were dying because of that they'd been through. He'd refused at first, but the scent of their blood had been too much. The bodies of the five he'd fed from had long been removed, but Aegin hadn't moved an inch except to dress in their shirt and pants handed to him. Considering how he'd pulled it tightly around his shoulders to cover the black marks there, Sevis was sure he would have stayed naked otherwise.
"Hasn't moved yet, then?" asked Sevis.
Tigin sighed, "Not even when Cara came by".
Sevis frowned, "This has got to stop".
He stalked passed Tigin and Tigin rose quickly, catching his arm, "I really don't think that's a good-"
Sevis shook off Tigin's hold and kept moving, pausing just a metre in front of Aegin.
Aegin didn't even acknowledge him. Sevis gritted his teeth before he reached out and grabbed Aegin's collar, pulling him up. Aegin grabbed his hand as the collar peeled back, throwing Sevis off.
"Don't touch me".
"Don't touch you?" asked Sevis. Then he stepped forward and shoved at Aegin's shoulders, "What? The big bad Vampire doesn't like being pushed around?"
Aegin's lip curled back at his eyes flashed red.
"Sevis, I really don't think-"
"Then don't think, Tigin," Sevis snapped, crossing his arms over his chest as his eyes met Aegin's gaze, "If you don't like being pushed around, Aegin, then do something about it!"
Aegin glared back at Sevis for a long moment before he turned away, picking up the coat and boots that had been left for him.
"So that's it, you're just going to leave?"
Aegin paused, "I'm not good for anything else, clearly".
"Is that so? And what about Rima? Are you just going to leave her to the mercy of the Black Sands?" asked Sevis.
Aegin turned back at him, "In case you hadn't noticed, Sevis, I stand no chance against the Djinn that guards her, exactly what do you think I can accomplish if I go after her? Huh? And even if by some miracle I happen to get her back, how am I going to keep her safe, I was no use for your entire Tribe!"
"We didn't ask you to protect our Tribe, Aegin," Sevis stated with narrowed eyes.
"Perhaps not explicitly, but it was damn well implied!"
"It was not!" Sevis snapped, "You are a guest here, just like Tigin and Rima are guests here!"
"I saw the way your father looked at me, Sevis, it's the same way people have been looking at me my entire life, vampire or not!" snapped Aegin, "Just a tool to be used. Evidently, he's just another in a long line of masters I've had to disappoint".
"So, did you think that was what I wanted from you? A protector?"
Aegin turned away, "Better I leave before I disappoint you too".
Sevis scoffed, "Go ahead then! Get an answer you don't like and run from it!"
Aegin called back over his shoulder, "Seems to be all I'm good at!"
Then he vanished, Sevis huffed and turned away.
"Wasn't that a little harsh?" asked Tigin.
Sevis paused and turned to Tigin, "If he's going to be a dead weight as we try to survive against Black Sands, because surviving will be the best we can pull off in the current circumstances, then he can run away as much as he damn well pleases. Besides, you were just waiting for him to perk back up so he could go save Rima, weren't you? Sorry to say it, Tigin, but we'll probably have to do that ourselves".