I have not often considered the matter of self-control, at least, not in respect of my beast. Come to that, I have not often considered the matter of my beast much at all. I know it is there, lurking, especially when things are stressful, but somehow, I am always able to command it. Well, so far at least. That does strike me as odd, since I am told that my bloodline is particularly prone to frenzying. And yet it hasn’t happened, so far.
I was asked about self-control last night, in the tavern. Doing my rounds, as usual, ending up in the tavern, I found Dori there, on her own. I greeted her and remembering her request from the night before the encounter with the Huntsman, reminded her that she wished to discuss private business with me. She agreed that she did, but it was very private.
I gestured at Hal to go check stock in the cellar or some such, and even sent Royce off to lurk in the shadows. Once we were alone, she told me that she had a situation and I was the only one, apart from Vedis, she felt she could trust. She asked me if I knew a vampire that I could trust. I avoided smiling too much and said that I could probably do that, but asked why she wanted a vampire.
She told me that she was not the most liked thing around. She had survived, with the help of her father, but now she was a long way from him. My first thought was that she was perhaps a ghoul, in need of a top-up dose of vitae. I suggested this, but she said that she did not feed from him. She then asked if I was human. I told her that I was human born, but not so any more and smiled, revealing the fangs. I said that I hoped that answered her question, adding that I would be grateful if she kept that to herself, since it alarmed some people.
While I was answering that, I caught a flash of something from Maric, but all I could work out was that it was something to do with Aoibheann, and caught glimpses of happiness and sunshine. I wasn’t at all sure whether sunshine and a happy vampire belonged together, but it was just a passing thought rather than a specifically aimed message, so I ignored it for now.
She confused me then, asking if I had heard of a dhampir then, presumably thinking that was what I meant. I had heard the word, reading through stuff in the library, but all I knew was that a dhampir was a creature born of the union of a vampire and a human, and that this was part of the folklore of the Balkans. As for myself, I was a full vampire, I told her. I left out the bit about having a heartbeat and breathing, since that was probably too confusing to explain, especially as I don’t really understand it myself. I then reminded her that she had said she trusted me and had asked for a vampire she could trust.
She reacted happily, hugging me, but then apologising. Where she came from, dhampirs were not liked, and most vampires considered them abominations to be destroyed. She asked what I knew and I told her that I had already said what I knew. Thinking then that she may need to feed, I asked if she required blood. She told me that she did not. What she did tell me was that within the dhampir, there were two warring sides, forever fighting for control. It sounded very much to me like the fight we vampires have with our beast and told her a little about that. She said that her father had taught her some mental control techniques to keep her beast under control, but now that wall, as she called it, was crumbling and she was afraid of losing control. She had done so once already, during the fight against the sluagh. Vedis had given her some help too, but she was afraid it wasn’t enough. Vedis had also told her that she would have to come to terms with that side of herself, but she did not like that, since she had seen what that side could do.
I was not sure what to tell her. I had learned some self-control once Mother coaxed me out of the bottle after Alex died, and more when I had to pass for human in my early years as a vampire, when I was still on board the ship. I also thought of the defences against mental attack I had been taught, back in my days in London. So, lacking anything else, I told her about those things and offered to tell her how I did it, if she so wished.
Mention of my mother sent her off on a tangent and she asked if I remembered my mother’s name. I was surprised by that question and wondered aloud why I shouldn’t. I told her that I did indeed know my mothers name and told her briefly of the family history I had researched. Getting back tot the matter of controlling the beast, I said that I would consult, on a confidential basis, of course, with somebody who might know more.
While I was answering her, another thought from Maric came into my head. He was about to go and visit Vedis to discuss our mutual survival strategy and told me I was charged with the safety of Mysthaven and Aoibheann while he was away, which wouldn’t be for long. I replied that it both were always in my care. I added that I had some questions about controlling the beast and also wondered if he knew anything of dhampirs. He answered that he could educate me on both, later.
Returning my attention to Dori, I said that I would have to consult, since my knowledge was not great, explaining how I had not seen my sire since a couple of days after my embrace. I promised I would keep her identity a secret as far as was possible. She was clearly worried that anybody I asked might have the same destructive attitude to her. She asked if I didn’t have a mental connection to my sire. All I could say to that was that I believed such things required a blood bond, and I had not had the chance to bond with Katharina. However, I knew that such things were possible. I didn’t mention that I knew it from personal experience, again, to avoid complicated explanations.
I would have spoken more of bonds and such like, but my watch reminded me that I was due back at the castle to talk to the servants, so I bade her have a good evening and departed, back to my steward’s duties.