Songlist: Drop your Anchor (The JB Conspiracy); Against a Sea of Troubles (Five Iron Frenzy); Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (Radiohead)
There are shadows all around me, cloying and clawing away at my veins. Hassani is the most human thing I have at the moment, and I need that there, because this Vampire business is smothering me in foreboding. It all comes down to that word – business. My life was pretty messed up when I was Kine, but being Kindred is all about survival, through words, through weapons. I saw that in Merris tonight. Everything needed to be plotted step by step, but underneath the logic I could faintly pick up the subconscious fear of what it meant to be a Vampire. Being in charge here means nothing like what it means to be in charge in the Kine world – in Kine England, at least. He reminded me of Milosz a little, which should’ve surprised me but didn’t. He felt like he had the power and resources he needed to make this work, yet he kept reiterating how important it was that we execute everything flawlessly, because that’s what undercover work does to you. It creates the illusion of power while you’re utterly futile to the circumstances around you. I feel it too. Trying to keep Maria safe, Hassani safe… it’s the family I never managed with Milosz and Hart, and I try to defend them while remembering I’m the monster of this group, knowing I’ve got to keep a cold heart and do whatever it takes to scar the Roses away from ever come back to power. Will I relish it? Will I relish for a while, then feel my heart plummet? God only knows. Shame I can’t talk to Him now.
I never had faith as Kine. I’m not sure I do know; I just have the dire regret of not being able to place my hope in something other than the Kindred around me, the Kindred I’ve seen kill, fail, break down, become ruthless and dust all at once. How determined Hassani was to be a Muslim… made me feel like I should’ve held onto my Kinehood while I still could. To be the human and not relish the Vampirism that gave me opportunities beyond anything an old polish Hag like me could’ve managed in a country tangled between multiculturalism and individuality. I’ve regretted every moment of those opportunities. Having no mortality, no sensitivity, surviving comes to be about the senses – how much can you do, stand doing to other people, before your sense of who you were gives way? I’ve felt it slipping since became Hound, since trying to feed, since I went outside and tried to remember how it was to be human and watched the mortals cower to my hideousness. I see it now in Merris, trying to do his job smoothly and humanely, but with the tinge of Vampire brutality inevitably touching everything. It makes me wonder how either of us found love in this place.
But we did. I suppose that keeps me going.
I see love in Maria, too, which keeps me buoyed up about her. Heck, she could’ve easily tore me down after Serafiem arranged transport for me, shoved another dagger in his heart and lured me into a trap. But she took my needs seriously. She took me to Daria, who didn’t necessarily want me but accepted me. There’s compassion in all of them. They may be fallen Roses, but in a way that’s a good thing – they’ve crumbled back into the Kine soil that sprouted them. As we fall as Kindred, we remember how important it was to start as human. I wonder, if we had all started in the fang-and-claws world of Vampires as Human beings, how we would’ve managed being that and undead. I suppose learning from Helena would tell me, but I can never ask her that. Her face makes me sink inside as it is. I can feel her losing her family when I never had one.
Well, I suppose we have something in common. I tried to have Hart, Helena tried to have Alice. I’m sure she’d never accept such a comparison, but we both tried to have some sort of family before circumstance took it away. Just hers is more genuine, and mine was more feeling. Well fuck.
I was tripping over myself tonight. I was tripping over my Kine body feeling that I needed to do Merris proud, to show Hassani that we’re not all doomed, that we can succeed in a good way. But I had this impending notion that someone would die, but not in the turning into ashes way. Someone will eat their own heart, diablerise themselves, in this mission, I can feel it in my gut. I just don’t know who it is – I can guess it would be me, trying to destroy Anne with my own hands and watching her writhe around, or even hearing Emily tell us that Maria has to go the same way. But that would be easier. I mean, I’ve been buried, burnt and thrown about the court, I’m almost a veteran in this whole dealing-with-shit business. I’ll just carry on being Czaka, whatever kind of compassionate killing machine she’s turning into. But knowing the Kindred world, something will happen to cripple Merris, or Hassani will get stung as the guy trying to do what none of us would’ve bothered to try. Then I’ll be stuck there, knowing I can’t find the words to console them. Then again, Vampires don’t need words as much. They just… do stuff. Zangor expressed his love, his need for Daria, by letting the Prince die – I wasn’t there to see it, but that guy makes me feel brave and scared all at once – I was glad he wasn’t around as much when I was, thinking about it. Milosz expressed his bitterness in a face. Serafiem expressed his anxiety by clamming up; Emma her rage by backing Hassani in a corner; Merris his sense of justice by roping the most unlikely of companions into this mission. Words seem to be a haze now, something to fill in the silence between action and regret. If the actions can prove something amongst the regret, that’s the most I can hope for.
I have to be more of a Merris. I have to swallow down what I feel, and do the task in hand. I know he won’t let me disappear again.