Chapter 1 – Feelings and identity
279 0 6
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

I regain consciousness only to be instantly assaulted again by the intense pain I’ve experienced dozens of times before during my ’memory transitions’. This time though, the pain gradually increases into much, much stronger pain than ever before and it feels like my head is about to explode.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! IT HUUUUUURTS!! Make it stop makeitstopmakeitstop it’s killing me!” after screaming, groaning, crying and writhing in the ground in agony for what feels like some minutes while gripping my head, the pain finally subsides, leaving me panting heavily on the ground.

There’s still a dull and frequent throbbing left in the depths of my head as an aftereffect of the intensity of the pain.

‘Huh?’

Gears start shifting in my mind as I think back to what I was sensing during the past minutes.

I’m suddenly acutely aware of the coolness and rough texture of the material under me and of the feeling of my breaths, still labored and coarse from the intense pain, of the dryness in my mouth after breathing through the mouth for a while.

My face feels like a mess because of my tears and runny nose.

A gentle and somewhat cool breeze keeps licking my skin.

I can hear my rough breathing, the wind around me and the little birds chirping occasionally somewhere in the distance.

My eyes fly wide open for the first time in who knows how long time and any traces of the pain I had been experiencing disappear from my mind like they were never there.

The first thing I see is a dull grey stone roof, supported by thick pillars made of the same material. My gaze wanders around everywhere, taking in details of the intricate carvings on the pillars and the roof. They depict various plants, animals and humanoids mixed with many symbols that seem to represent the sun and the twin moons of this world.

My thoughts are flying all over the place with these confusing new feelings. I had known something was wrong when I could only hear and see in those memories, but this combination of senses is completely new to me.

My fingers twitch and I try to move my right arm. It responds in the way I imagine. It’s a feeling I don’t remember having experienced before but somehow it feels so natural. I bring the hand in front of my face.

It’s a delicate looking, pale skinned hand with five fingers and long fingernails. The hand joins to an equally pale, frail looking arm. I slowly touch my face. The difference in temperature makes my hand feel a bit cool to my face.

But I can actually feel it, that’s the important part!

My fingers brush the still damp trails of tears, left there from when I cried due to the pain. I wipe the lingering tears from the corners of my eyes and rub my fingers together, feeling their moistness.

I slide the back of my left hand over a few wet spots on the cool floor next to my head. The hand brushes over a bundle of hair. It’s slightly damp from tears as well. Pinching my cheek with the nails of my right hand, I wince at the very sharp but welcome tinge of pain.

A happy giggle escapes past my lips followed by gasp.

“Ah! Aaah,” a soft, high-pitched voice leaves my vocal cords into the surroundings. "Oh yeesss!"

‘I have a voice! I can speak! Oh, this joy!’

I can’t stop myself from laughing out loud. Tears start flowing endlessly again, this time from different reasons. The tears tickle the skin of my face all the way down, past my ears as I lay on the ground. Even that feeling is so lovely.

 


 

I’m not sure for exactly how long I’ve been lying on this same spot, crying, laughing and making weird noises to test my own voice.

The loud caw of a crow or some other larger, and probably uglier, bird in the distance, so different from the gentle chirping of the little birds I’ve been hearing so far, shakes my mind back to the reality of my current situation.

Right... this is all a bit overwhelming but…

I’m pretty sure I’m naked since I could clearly feel the wind everywhere, I don’t know where am I and whether I’m alone or not. Although I’m also pretty sure if I wasn’t alone, someone would have already said or done something as I’ve been awake for twenty minutes by now, by even the most optimistic estimation.

I quickly sit up, doing my best to ignore the new feelings I get from the movement of my freshly acquired body, while scanning my surroundings in all directions.

I’m in some kind of large stone building with huge entrances at two of the four walls, on opposite sides, where one would expect there to be doors. Or rather, gates, considering the size of the entrances.

So that’s where the occasional breeze has been coming from, despite the fact I’m technically indoors. I can’t see any movement within or outside the building. The interior is dominated by two rows of thick pillars and half a dozen huge stone monuments between them. The monuments resemble coffins, three on each side of the building.

‘What is this, a mausoleum or something?’

For the record, I am in fact naked as feared, and appear to be quite obviously female as far as my knowledge of human physiology goes, if the pitch of my voice hadn’t given it away yet.

Alright, no obvious threats within sight from what I can tell. But I should probably refrain from making much noise. I don’t really know much about my current situation how hostile the environment is towards me. At least I’m not locked up anywhere.

It seems to be slightly dark outside, so it’s probably morning or early in the evening. I can only see a few evergreen trees and… dense rows of graves outside. There are no other distinct landmarks visible from within the building.

Yeah, I guess this is a mausoleum of sorts then, as it looks like I’m in a graveyard. What a lovely place to wake up in.

...

Right… So I’m finally free from that endless nightmare of memories and pain.

I finally have a body that can feel and which I can move freely.

“I can even speak!” I really hope there’s nobody lurking outside away from the entrances’ view, listening to my embarrassing nonsense.

The last thing I remember before waking up here is… that.

'Wave of Death’, was it? A heat flashes on my face shortly as I remember the incantation. A huge magic spell, that took the lives of at least the 56 people who were casting it, if those memories were even real. Then everything went black and when I woke up, I gained my last ‘batch’ of knowledge.

When I try to think of where I am, my brain seems to vaguely guesstimate the answer as ‘probably close to Cresta kingdom’s capital, Estmoor; there are no graveyards with mausoleums of this size elsewhere that I’m aware of.'

Well, that’s convenient. Better than nothing. Going through so many memories that happened near the capital had to count for something, though I could have done without the pain that came with the knowledge after each memory.

Next up… my identity I guess? My odd knowledge, which nobody technically taught to me personally, lets me know that I’m in fact not a human, unlike what I had expected.

In fact I’m not a living being at all.

...

Eh?

I’m an undead. To be more specific, I seem to be a being known as a ‘pure vampire’, the rarest form of an already rare species.

And how do I know this? Apparently, it’s some kind of defense mechanism for us newly born vampires to have the basic information about our own race to prevent us from instantly killing ourselves by walking into the sunlight or something equally perilous. The knowledge also teaches us about our basic needs, strengths and weaknesses, as there is usually nobody around to teach us when we are born. This knowledge is given to us pure vampires by the Goddess of Moon, Lunea, who governs over death, night, all nocturnal creatures and the Moon element.

H-huh..? So this pretty much explains the intense pain from earlier when I woke up. It was the information given to me by Lunea. And the last bits of knowledge added from the 56 memories I experienced intensified the pain exponentially.

Experimentally I lick my canines and notice they are indeed very long and sharp.

I brush my fingers on my ears and feel their shape.

Yup, they are longer than a human’s. I haven’t seen any elves nor do I have a mirror, so I can’t really make a comparison, but they are supposed to have longer ears than vampires have.

Curiosity tickles in the back of my mind though, I really want to check!

I make a mental note to search for some elves at a later time.

Alright, I’ll have to piece my thoughts together for a bit. What I gather from the 56 memories and their knowledge from earlier regarding how pure vampires are born, my past experiences start making sense.

This sure is a lot of information to process though, I’ll need some time.

Glancing around again, I stand up and walk over to one of the large stone coffins. They are actually much larger than I initially thought. Even though they are laid down, they are still so tall I’d have a hard time climbing on top of them. Or maybe I’m just too short? I don’t really have anything to compare to, although my figure looks adult.

I brush the worst of the dust and small pebbles off the floor and sit down, leaning against the coffin.

Here should be a bit safer in case someone happens to peek inside this building.

Sighing, I close my eyes and lean my head against the coolness of the stone behind me.

So… vampires are not born from parents at all. We are undead after all. And as a result, we don’t have a given name. So for now I’m nameless, not that it matters. I can think about that when the time comes.

We ‘pure vampires’ are created naturally from a concentration of huge amount of residual Moon element mana lingering in the surroundings in areas where there has been a lot of death ‘fairly recently’.

The time frame is quite broad depending on how one perceives the word ‘recent’, but in case of us immortal vampires, it is anywhere between about 25 to 50 years. General rule of thumb for the time it takes is that the more mana there is in the surroundings the less time it takes.

The amount of mana which forms us needs to be huge, because elemental spirits naturally eat and cleanse the mana back into their own spirit energy as time passes.

The mana also usually needs to be of the Moon element, which includes the sub-element of Death. This means the spell(s) cast must be Moon magic as well.

Mana of any element can technically give birth to the (lower level) undead, which are non-living creatures of the night born from residual mana, because death (one of the requirements for undead to be born) is closely tied to the night and the Moon element. But it would take about ten times more residual mana of any other element to create undead, so Moon element is by far the strongest in creating undead.

On the other hand, undead can’t be created without death. Just pure Moon element mana cannot create undead, if there are no ‘dead things’ to un-death’.

The knowledge we vampires have upon ‘birth’ comes not only from Goddess Lunea, but also from the memories contained within the mana we are birthed from. Without the Goddess’s knowledge we would probably be confused and think of ourselves as the race whose memories are contained within the mana, just like how I thought I was a human at first. Our so-called ‘worldly knowledge’ and ‘common sense’ are very dependent on what kinds of memories were contained within the mana we were born from.

Memories can get imbued into mana without the consent of the caster while casting high level magic. Usually the memories contain only the moment of casting the spell, but with stronger spells the memories can be from further away in the past and last longer. Just like in my case.

I’m almost certain my birth and memories came forth from the mana that lingered in this region as the aftereffect of Wave of Death. The amount of memories and knowledge contained within the mana which formed me shouldn’t be possible with Fifth Tier magic. It was most likely area magic of the Sixth Tier.

I can’t be certain until I actually read more history books, but I can almost certainly say that nobody has cast as large scale magic as Wave of Death on this continent in at least the past millennium.

I should consider myself lucky to have so much knowledge from 56 people from the start, thanks to being given birth by such a powerful spell.

That brings forth another question though: what happened after Cresta kingdom cast the spell?

I don’t really know about anything that has happened since the spell was cast and by judging from these memories’ knowledge about vampires, it must be at least 25 years since then. Could be even half a century, though I doubt my birth would have taken that long. The amount of mana used on the spell was huge after all.

This is a graveyard, probably a large one at that since it contains a mausoleum like this, so it’s a given that this area is filled with death. I can’t be certain about the end result of the war. I’ll have to go out to see the surroundings to get a better idea.

Speaking of going out, I’ve been awake probably for at least a couple of hours by now and my stomach is starting to protest a bit. I haven’t eaten anything, ever. But thinking that way feels weird, since I have a lot of memories, days' or even weeks' worth of them, despite being less than three hours old.

I’m not starving yet, but I should probably start thinking about how to get food. It has to be blood or similar life-sustaining bodily fluid and this is a large graveyard. Odds on finding many living beings to feed on around here are low.

I get up and take a peek at both of the building’s humongous entrances. It still seems slightly dark outside, but it doesn’t look like it is night or day yet.

Shouldn’t it be significantly brighter or darker now, since it was morning or early evening when I woke up?

*Hoo hoooo! Hooo hooo!*

Eeh? Was that an owl? At this time of the day?

Wait, something doesn’t add up.

It’s still pretty bright outside, but I haven’t been hearing the voices of little birds for a good while now.

But I’m a vampire. We are supposed to have quite a decent night vision.

Could it be night? Was it late evening or night when I woke up?

‘Alright, carefully then,’ I start walking closer to the entrance at the left side of the building.

The rays of light touch the floor for the distance of a few meters, pushing into the shadows in the shape of the entrance. I walk along a wall which has no entrances or windows, making sure I stay in the shadows until I’m right next to the entrance, careful to avoid touching the light.

I kneel next to the boundary between light and shadow, lift my right hand to brush my hair that’s about to fall into my face over my shoulder and take a look at the pale hand, turning it around a couple of times while opening and closing my fist.

I glance at the light hitting the floor. Switching my sight between my hand and the light a few times, I mentally prepare myself for some pain and prepare to pull the hand back fast, just in case.

I’m not reckless enough to peek into the sky to confirm whether it’s the sun Solas or the twin moons Bless and Lunea up there just because of some stupid birds.

Older and stronger pure vampires have been known to have some resistance to sunlight and the Sun element, but letting sunlight directly hit my head as a newborn, who has not yet even eaten anything to strengthen myself, would probably kill me before I can scream ‘It hurts!’

“Haa… well here goes nothing,” I place my fist on the ground extending the index finger, and start slowly inching it closer to the light.

My eyes are glued to the finger and the tip of its long and sharp scarlet nail.

If I was a living being, my heart would probably be trying to burst from my chest right now.

The nail crosses over the boundary of light and I immediately stop my finger.

Nothing happens.

I breathe out a sigh of relief. I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath.

Yes, I do realize I don’t actually need to breathe, being an undead. Maybe it’s just a quirk from having so many memories from humans? I can’t speak without air in my lungs anyway so there’s no harm in being used to it.

I slowly move the rest of my finger and then my entire hand and arm into the light, turning it around for a bit and nothing happens either.

It really is night, then. I can go out safely.

Standing back up again, I glance down at myself and feel a bit of heat spreading on my cheeks.

Right, I don’t feel particularly cold, although Cresta is quite far in the north. But this place is supposed to be near the capital for Lunea’s sake, I can’t exactly trot around in the largest city of the country naked!

Yup, the first priority is food. But clothes come a strong second!

 

I tried to write the chapter in a manner that it doesn't feel like a huge and useless info dump about magic and the undead of this world. Nobody likes huge info dumps without other content. But I'm not quite sure how successful I was at it, this being my first ever novel.

I've made a Glossary. I will gradually add more information into it, as the protagonist discovers and explains things, but I know not everyone reads glossaries.

That's why I felt like I need to somehow give basic explanation of things within the chapter. Hope you enjoyed regardless.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments on the whole 'info dump' thing and if you have suggestions on how to improve on giving heavy-on-new-information plot points to the reader without making it a bore. All critique is appreciated.

I promise I will try to keep the dumps to a minimum, I know they can get a bit heavy to read.

Did the chapter feel like a boring info dump?
  • Yes. Votes: 3 9.4%
  • It felt like an info dump, but was not boring. Votes: 19 59.4%
  • No, but the chapter was boring regardless. Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No. Votes: 10 31.3%
Total voters: 32
6