I don’t know what to make of Mordecai. I have never seen anyone like him. Bearded. Dressed in a shawl. And a funny little hat that fits on just the top of his head. Truva says that he is Jewish.
But I don’t care. I have never seen a finer swordsman in my life. Or unlife. Whatever you classify it as.
I was relieved when I finally faced my auntie. It brought me some closure. I know she is now at peace. No more bitterness. No more hate. No more blame.
I just wish I could have saved her from it all in the beginning. I wish papa had listened to Voodoo and me. We would have avoided all this. But that is all in the past.
“Thinking again, are we, Miss Juarez? What about? How if someone had listened, it would have prevented this?” It is almost as if Mordecai can read my thoughts. “Oh, yes. It might have. But only for a little while. Not in the long run. Vampires feed on fear and hate. The more of either you possess, the stronger your opponent is.”
“I thought they lived off blood.” I am being smart.
“Miss Juarez.” he is angry. “Must I remind you. Blood is only the physical component with which they sustain their existence. Not the psychical means by which they fight. They rely on you to hate or fear them enough to ooze both emotions. It is fine to hate them. But you want to control the emotion enough to prevent it from emoting to them.”
“What are you saying?” I am utterly confused.
“When you faced your aunt, what emotion did you allow her to sense?”
“I felt sadness and mercy. I think.”
“The word is forgiveness, child. You forgave her of those horrible words she was saying to you. In essence, you weakened her. Took away her strength. You felt sorry for her, stripping her power over you away.” He smiles. “Without realizing it, you freed her before she was dead.”
I have a lot to think about. “How did you come to know this?” I am now curious about where he learned it all.
“I have had millennia to learn, Miss Juarez. I have been around since the time of David. I walked the earth for millennia before Christ, and have walked millennia since. I did not waste my time on frivolous things like worrying about whether I was right in my belief. I had no choice. I am bound to God by an arrogant oath I made when I was young. I promised God my life in return for those of my family. He took me at my word and I have walked the earth since, killing vampires and the undead in his name.” he lowers his gaze. “Religion doesn’t matter anymore. Christian, Jewish, Islamic. All ceased to be a factor in this world. They really didn’t matter to begin with.
“Neither did politics. In the end, we die and turn to dust. What we did doesn’t really matter unless we did the right thing. If we do evil, we die and are forgotten, except as footnotes in history. If we do good, we are remembered by a power greater than us and will see whatever will come from all this in the end. Law of nature. Law of fate. The trappings you put around it really do not matter.”
Now I realize what the purpose to learning from Mordecai is. He is to teach philosophy. History. And to peel the layers away from belief and faith so that there is nothing left but those central points. No physical demands. No laws. No rites. Just faith. Faith that things will change and a better world will emerge. After all, what are we if we do not have faith in something?
Aristotle. Plato. Socrates. Every philosopher is taught. I absorb the information as quick as he can place it before me.
Jung. Freud. Nietzsche. Even psychological philosophy is a subject to be relished.
Ancient history. Classical history. Early modern history. All supplemented with his journals.
Simple mathematics. Science. Every kind. Sociology.
By the time he finishes, I am a walking encyclopedia. Or I feel like one. I know more about the human race than most humans.
I know how to read the stars. The weather. The plant signs. and animal sign.
I know how to track, most of all. This will definitely come in handy.
He has taught me every language known to man. Except those I have already learned. Customs, most of which are lost to time. Of people now lost to time. But it makes me appreciate life. something I no longer have.
He is proud of me as he readies to leave. “Others will be coming to teach you. Many others. Listen to them well. Each will have something useful to add to your arsenal of secret weapons. But never forget who your allies are. Never forget to call on them in times of need. But be careful. Your enemies may try to pose as allies.”
“I will be careful.” I am promising him something I know may be hard to follow through on.
He smiles. “I know. But one can never be too careful.”
I watch him leave. I have found a deeper respect for those who came before. Mordecai most of all. I am just starting out in this life as a hunter. If you can call what I have life.
I am no longer a living person. My heart no longer beats. I no longer need to eat. Though I do need to drink blood from time to time to remain active.
But the world is a little brighter with hope. My world. I know it won’t always be this way. I won’t always be undead. I know that I might actually live again. But when?
I hope it is soon. I don’t want to be a vampire for the rest of my existence. I want to be human again. Even if it is for a little while.