That one word stirs a myriad of feelings for every living being. To some, it embodies evil. To others, it is just another word for sadness. For us, it means life. But in the end, it is still just a word. Make your own judgment as to its connotation.
From our birth into this un-death, we have worshipped the night. We spend our days hidden away from the sun's harmful rays, thinking only of the night to come and begging for its speedy return. We play games within the night's black tendrils. It caresses our skin like a lover's touch. We are one with the night. We are but children appealing to the maternal nature of the night's airy kiss.
We feed, play, love and live an eternity that few know exist and fewer still could fathom. We exist, fearing nothing but the embrace of Ra, whose touch is one of the few things in this world that can harm us. This is not to say that we don't have our fair share of problems; the life of an immortal is still a life influenced by the world around us. As with any sentient being, life has a way of serving us as many trying times as it does the good ones.
The vast majority of us are not evil. Nor are we bottom feeders attacking anything that moves in our vicinity. We do sustain ourselves on the blood of mortals, but we are very particular about the humans we feed upon. For the most part, we only take those who wish to die, and when we do feed, their deaths are quick and merciful. Most meet their end in a state of ignorant bliss. There are those of my kind who don't take the lives of their meals at all. There are clans, even entire covens who keep stables filled with humans for the sole purpose of sustaining the brood. I find this method to be a bit too inhumane for my taste. Would it not be better to have a quick release from your suffering than to live out your years in a darkened basement, waiting for the next visit from your owners?
We do not surround ourselves with graves or the fetid remains of our victims. Nor do we wish to destroy the world in a bloody rage. In fact, we fully appreciate the beauty of the world mortals have built around us. How could we not? After all, were we not human once ourselves?
Just as our strength and speed have increased, our capacity to love and remorse have grown a hundred-fold. None who are mortal have an inkling of how love and sorrow really feel. I have wept at the splendor of the night and loved a woman with my cold heart in such a way no human mind could imagine, let alone endure its intensity. The things I see and the voices I hear would leave a mortal cowering in insanity, begging for a merciful release from the constant bombardment of his senses.
We live amongst you, imitating your lifestyles and admiring your achievements. We see better than mortals, in both the literal and philosophical sense. We spend much of our time watching over you like guardian angels. We give advice and discourage ideas that may lead to the downfall of humankind. We are not always successful, but we always try.
The following account is about the life and death of Kanati Harjo. He was born nearly two hundred years ago in South Carolina, and this is his story. Before we begin, I should set the stage so you might better understand the world as he knew it.
He was only two years old when his people were forced to move to the Indian Territory. They settled in what is now Southeastern Oklahoma. Nearly a thousand began the trek, but his Clan was barely more than one-hundred strong at the end of the march. They were part of the thirteen thousand Native Americans that were escorted to their new homes by the U.S. government in the fall of 1838.
The procession had over six hundred wagons that were meant to carry the sick, elderly and small children. The rest of his people had to walk. It took six months to traverse the winter-encased terrain. A mixture of starvation and fatigue claimed most of his kinsmen's lives during the trip, while others succumbed to the elements. None made the journey unscathed, be it mentally or physically.
His father was one who died along the trail. He fell victim to some disease or another, the name of which is no longer important. His mother was Caucasian, though we will never know her nationality. His father met her on one of his many travels into the world of the newcomers. She died mere hours after Kanati was born from complications with his birth.
Finally, in March 1839, they arrived in the Indian Territory. The bulk of the survivors went on to establish themselves in the northeastern part of the territory between the Arkansas and the Verdigris Rivers. The elders of his tribe decided to travel farther south. Rumor had it that some of their cousins had already begun a friendly community in the area called Tahlonteeskee. For most of the elders, a familiar face was very welcome in such a strange land.
There were many children such as Kanati who lost either their mother or father, or in some cases, both. It was the responsibility of the elders of his tribe to teach them the ways of their people. They were taught to hunt, fish, and ride. They regaled the children in the evenings with stories about the myths and legends that made them who they were as a culture.
Eventually, the then fledgling government came up with the bright idea to take one more thing from the survivors of the march ... their children. They were gathered in droves and sent to boarding schools. The directors of the program broke off all contact between the children and their tribes, effectively isolating them from their roots. They could not speak in their native tongue. To do so earned severe beatings from the hands of the teachers. They learned to read and write in English. They learned all the skills deemed necessary to turn savages into civilized, obedient cogs in the wheels of society. The directors were sure that once the children worshipped their god and obeyed their laws, they would become the perfect little lap dogs, a lasting symbol of their dominance over the heathens.
Kanati was sent to the far southeast region of the territory when he was roughly six years old. He received his education at Chesterfield Academy for Boys. Most of the girls from his Talwa--the village of his clan--were sent to Rolling Hills Female Seminary. It was a beautiful example of government intervention at its finest.
But enough of my somewhat biased ramblings. You didn't come here to hear my thoughts. You've come for adventure, and a bloody adventure you shall have.