Flynn wiped the blood from his lips with the back of his hand, dropping the still-twitching corpse of the rat over the side of the boat. As he heard the drained remnants of dinner hit the water with a splash, he held his hand up, and considered the moonlight reflecting off the crimson stains clinging to his skin.
The bard had once considered himself able to see the beauty in all things, but here, in this very moment, he realized how blind he’d truly been. He had merely looked at beautiful things before. He had not SEEN them. Stood here, alone on the deck, the cold night air sweeping around him, he understood what beauty truly was. Beauty was that first moment of freedom each evening, after hiding from the Sun in a box for twelve hours. Beauty was that first drop of warm blood, chasing down the bread and the ale that tasted as dust on his tongue. Beauty was the night, for the days had been taken from him. Beauty is death, for only through death had Flynn become able to appreciate those small glimmers of life left to him.
If his recent transition had brought him one other gift, it was clarity. The dreaming had stopped. The memories of other men no longer flowed unbidden into his mind, as they had while his heart still beat. He was no longer visited by visions of Krinn, Nadirin, Vox, Winston, or the people they slaughtered. He could still remember much of what they did, but he was no longer forced to witness it all, his eyes pried open. Ironic… because so much of what they did no longer seemed to bother him. He could recall Nadirin shooting fleeing gnomes in the back, he could see The Arcane burn cities to the ground, and he could sense the exact moment in which the tip of Vox’s sword delicately pierced an innocent tradesman’s eyeball, but imagery that once turned his stomach now seemed so… mundane.
Flynn Flashwood was still a good man. He was certain of this. He’d followed the ritual to the letter, and it ensured that he was still himself, but his resolved had most definitely hardened. He knew what was right, and he wanted to do what was right, but he felt compelled by no conscience. There wasn’t that burning pit of guilt that always tugged at his soul in times past. Well, he supposed he didn’t have a soul to tug anymore.
In some twisted way, Flynn reasoned, he was a more moral being as a result of all this. After all, he was unfettered by shame, free of obligation to gods or the civilization that now would spurn him. People did good because it was a compulsion. It was in their nature, governed by guilty thoughts, and reinforced by society’s subjective idea of justice.
But that wasn’t Flynn. He didn’t feel guilty anymore, and what society would have him now? He wasn’t an animal, spurred by instinct toward good behavior, and he wasn’t a puppet on a string, dancing to the rules of the self-proclaimed righteous. He had what no mortal could claim to have – TRUE free will. TRUE choice.
Flynn Flashwood could choose his own way, and his way would be more righteous than any other.
And they call vampires the unholy ones.
The bard smiled to himself, briefly, before he thought of his friends once more. Their reactions still ate at him, gnawed at his dead heart like so many worms. They didn’t see things his way, he knew. His feelings on this were… complicated. Flynn was incapable of feeling remorse for what he’d done, unable to be ashamed of himself, and logically he saw no cause to feel that way in the first place. Even so… he did not enjoy the way they looked at him, and he especially hated the disappointment in Brand’s eyes every time they spoke. He could always see it, behind the keyholder’s face, that ghost of pity glaring back at him. He found the druid’s open contempt more palatable than Brand’s pity.
For why should Flynn be pitied? If only they knew how this felt. If only could understand why he did what he did, if they could stop for one second and ask themselves what they would do, truly, in his position? If only they could taste this power. The fools!
“Now now,” reprimanded Flynn. “That’s how villains think. You’re a hero, and so are they. They’re all just confused right now. They don’t see things as clearly as you do.”
He had to prove to his friends that he was still a good man. They’d understand, if they could open their minds and give him a chance. All it would take is time.
And Flynn Flashwood, the vampire lutist, had so much time.