Chapter 7:


The Land Called Myself

Some time ago, a woman’s mind torn in two.

She wanted, more than anything, to escape this broken mind.

But she could not gather the courage to do it.

The following are thoughts she experienced on a single day of this miserable life.





Yes, unsatisfaction. Again and again. That is all it feels like.

I wake up. I see mother. I see father. I realize I am me. Unsatisfaction.

I breathe. I eat. I feel my body. Unsatisfaction.

I pray to the old king that I will be saved. Unsatisfaction.

I search through every single book in the castle library, hoping to find even the smallest bit of information, the tiniest reference to my condition. Unsatisfaction.

I am an ugly thing. That, above all else, is true. Not only in my wretched appearance, or in my aching mind… but, I think, in my heart, I am an ugly thing. Because I cannot possibly find joy in any of the things that make up what others have told me is “my” life. It makes no sense to me. That any of this is “real.” How anything, anywhere, could be “good.” “Satisfactory.”

My mother is very kind to me, disregarding her ultimate affront to my well-being she made long ago.

“Maldolga, I have brought someone to help you.”

She reckons herself a kind woman, and thus, she is kind. She will do things in the name of kindness, just to satisfy this identity. It’s so boring.

She presents to me an animal- some sort of Troll. It holds a weapon sharper than my face and just as ugly. For some reason, it was dressed like a princess.

“I am Makara Qulgot. I solve interesting problems.”

In my deep dissatisfaction, I speak to it, just to see what will happen.

“You can’t do anything to me. Unless you plan to use that saw of yours.”

“𝓞𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸~! Is that really what you believe? And how long have you spent in this castle? Two hundred years? Three hundred?”

“My age is none of your concern.”

“Not at all. What I’m wondering is why you’re so sure if you’ve been kept up in the same place for so long.”

“We own the largest library in the Southern Hemisphere, and not a single book gave me even one step in making this life one bit more satisfactory. Do you understand? That’s like diving into the ocean and coming out with not a single drop of water resting on your skin.”

“But there are more oceans out there, Count.”

“What do you mean?”

“The lights in the sky… those are other suns. And with them, other planets. Other oceans. Other worlds. You cannot possibly know everything.”

“You remind me of father. I dislike you.”

“Mm. Tell me about your father.”

“He thinks he is very smart. Just because he knows the tiniest bit more than his wife and daughter in his long life experience, he acts as if he has seen things we cannot even dream of. But a lifeform can dream of anything. He is nothing more than another pretentious inbred, a caricature of a vampire… as, I suppose, we all are.”

“Yes, I know well of your current state of affairs. Quite the reputation you’ve lost, after the wars.”

“That was a foolish decision… I curse my bloodline for it.”

“Anyone would. How many of you are left?”

“Very few. How many I do not know. I’ve come to peace with our race dying here.”

“That’s not very characteristic for a vampire to say. Maybe you’re not such a character.”

“No. I think I very much am. I still hold in me an inherent belief that I am above you… and most everyone else. It’s just that… I hate myself so much, you’ve all moved down even further.”

“Why do you hate yourself?”

“It would be more accurate to say I have found myself in a false reality… and in a false person who I hate. I don’t believe her to be myself.”

“Did any of those books say even a word about souls?”

I’d never heard of what the troll spoke. It terrified me, once I realized it might be more than just pseudoscience. Apparently, she and her race had information I didn't even have access to. I felt foolish, and ashamed. In my shame, I vowed to follow her, if not just to make up for my insolence.

We studied long into the night, using materials she brought herself. What a process it was. In time, I… changed. It couldn’t be called investment or excitement, but… I did feel something.

“This book’s a useful one. It says something about totems that I didn’t know.”

“What about them?”

“That they’re still around.”

In the Culling Wars… we tested how far the world could be stretched.

The humans attacked us, out of fear. We could have gone into hiding. We would’ve been fine. But we were too damn proud. It was an insult to our identity to wage war against us. So we hit back harder than any force conceivably could.

We put all our family to work. Used them. Broke them. Sacrificed them to experiments. Through blood, we created them- the totems. The most disturbed of vampiric sorcerers manned them- ungodly icons to crack the curtains of the universe. In exchange for blood sacrifice, their mystic power allowed the will of the world to be bent. Like a genie, they granted us things. We created monstrosities to fight for us. Birthed new and terrible animals they called “monsters.” We spread plague and virus across the land, doing our best to wipe as many of them off the face of the planet as possible, just as they wished to do to us…

And we still failed.

The humans were too clever. The vampiric totems were powerful, but easily located and destroyed. All we had done was make them feel more just in their genocide of our kind. Soon enough, we were left in shambles, forced to rot as the few of us left bred with each other over and over again through generations, devolving our race into ugly, putrid things- of which I was the worst of them all.

The cousins who conceived me molded me into something you could hardly call alive. Of course, that wasn’t the worst of it. According to this troll- I was missing something much more. My birth was so corrupt that I lacked even the essence of life- a soul.

However, past sins make way for new enlightenment.

If only we could find one of these totems… of which her studies showed much surely, in part, still exist somewhere in this world… we could just perhaps conjure up a soul for me, and rescue my existence.