Don’t just be good. Be good for something.

Wise words once imparted to me by a wise man. It was good advice then, but I was too much of a typical youth to ever take it seriously.

Of course, all that changed in my sixteenth year—the year I became cursed with an incredible power.

The True Rune on my right hand glowed perpetually, attesting to my immortality quite fittingly. It may have appeared to be harmless, but it held a terrible secret, one that consumed me—consumed my entire being—leaving behind scars that only a merciful century could heal. The power of the rune had a mysterious grip on my soul from the beginning, taking over it several times. I would like to believe I fought against it, but even if it were true, the thought was little comfort among the screams and scattered bodies often left in my wake...


“Get her, get her!”

Despite the fact it had existed for generations without dilemma, the secluded village had shown its greatest error by having been what it was—secluded. Any sort of aid was at least a hundred miles away, and the village itself had little manpower.

The terror sweeping the area that evening existed in the form of a young, silver-haired girl. She had been on a rampage for the past hour, attacking residents and stealing lives. A few of the survivors had finally cornered her, in hopes of finally eliminating this unexpected fiend.

“You’ve nowhere to run!” bellowed the elder, who held a torch.

“You’ll pay for slaying my brother!” shouted a second voice, a younger man. Armed with a spear, he stood before the possessed female with an expression of rage. “This is for him and all the villagers you’ve killed!”

The girl dodged gracefully, almost choreographically, as her attacker came close. She wrapped her hands around the wooden shaft, forcing the weapon from his insecure grasp. The man turned in surprise, but it was too late; she aimed upward, delivering a direct blow to his jaw with the blunt end. As the force threw his head back, she dropped down and swept the weapon toward his heels, knocking him off his feet. When he landed on the ground, she approached him with the spear, positioning the sharp point mere inches away from his neck.

The man flinched in reflex, trembling. He then opened his eyes, seeing that she had yet to slay him. However, she would not allow the task to go undone. He became aware of this the moment he looked into her eyes, those eyes that were the color of blood.

The girl gazed back at him with a sort of satisfied smirk.

He groaned in defeat. “You bitch...”

That was all he could utter before she thrust the spearhead into his jugular, blood spilling from the heavy wound. A horrified chorus of gasps and sobs erupted from the crowd.

The outcries, though perfectly justified, caught the attention of the girl, who wished only annihilation of her audience. Three women cowered away in fear, while the men stood, staring, trembling.

While she was taking pleasure from this, she noticed a presence quickly approaching from behind. The villager quickly wrapped his arms around the girl, attempting to trap her in his hold. Dropping the spear, she reached up and grabbed his arm—strangely, less for the purpose of freeing herself, and more for the sake of maintaining a grip. Her intention became clear as she escaped his trap and began to twist his arm behind him. The villager’s screams only preceded a horrible snapping noise and unnatural protrusion from his tortured appendage. Consistent with her level of mercy, the girl threw the man to the ground, where he continued wailing in agony.

Just then, heavy object struck the girl from behind. It seared her back and spread, an unbearable degree of heat enveloping her body. With an ear-splitting shriek, she collapsed and began frantically rolling across the dirt.

With his hand free of the torch, the elder faced the group of frightened women. “Go! Get out of here! And take the children with you—this is no place for them to stay!”

A set of rapid footsteps made him realize his opponent had recovered. He turned as a fist brutally awarded him a mouthful of blood and shattered enamel. He gagged and spat, distracted by pain and momentary shock.

Retrieving the spear, the girl returned to finish the job. She swung the weapon around, hitting the old man across the side of his face with murderous strength—just one more number to the death toll.

The women had complied with the elder’s command, their frightened cries only provoking the desires of the possessed one. The vocal sounds escalated into bloodcurdling screams as the pale-skinned girl ran after them, striking several of them down. She caught one woman fleeing for her life and began to strangle her to death. More men approached in order to put an end to this cruel act, but to no avail. She dropped her victim as the villagers came close; she turned and leapt away as one man swung at her with his knife.

The man attempted to slice her again, but his hand was caught in a trap consisting of both of hers. He grunted, both alarmed and astounded as the girl made his own weapon turn on him. His arm became strained beneath her might, and his wrist was compelled to rotate unnaturally.

“D-damn... you...”

The tip of the knife was driven into his heart against any will he may have possessed; he began to gurgle, his grip on the weapon becoming loose.

The girl tore the knife out of his chest with every intention of transferring it to another victim. Her aim became achieved as a second man came too close for his own good; she stopped him in his tracks with a single stab wound to the gut. Again, she pulled out the weapon, watching the man stumble backwards and collapse.

“No!” came the shout of a third man, who rushed to the side of his wounded friend. “Tam! This can’t—no! Please, no!”

The tears began to flood his cheeks, but little was he reimbursed with this opportunity to fully express his sorrow; a weight slammed into him and was now keeping a tight hold on him. He tried to stand and fight against this force, but something sharp had succeeded in slashing its way across his throat. He was immediately silenced, gradually lowering himself to a more seated position.

A sudden, penetrating wound persuaded the girl to get off the man’s back. The instantaneous shock caused her to release her knife and she turned, blood seeping heavily from her punctured shoulder. Her stunned look became an angry scowl as she advanced toward the one who had been responsible. The unapologetic villager kept his stance, swiping the crimson stained dagger at the girl. The attempt was thwarted, however; she caught him by the wrist, violently twisting it around. As the man screamed in pain, she used this chance to relieve him of his weapon. She repaid him with a deep cut to the stomach and he descended, landing on his side with a more muted groan.

The girl looked down at him with a smirk. As she approached him in order to finish the job, she unexpectedly found herself sinking to the ground. It was inevitable her strength would be depleted, especially in a situation such as this. She dropped to her knees and began to breathe deeply.

“Oh...” The outcry came from behind her, some distance away.

“Wh-what are you doing...?” demanded the injured man, who had managed to prop himself up with one arm. He was looking straight at another person with pure outrage. “She’s weak! Kill her now! What’s the matter with you...?!”

“I... I...” The other villager stood clutching the spear, but made no move. “Sh-she’s just a child...”

“A child...?” The man shook his head in disbelief, tears coming to his eyes. “You fool. You stupid...stupid...fool...” The last of his energy was spent in the sorrowful breath that followed, and he returned to the spot he had laid upon only moments before, now unmoving.

“Oh” The armed villager looked upon his deceased friend, his heart filling with grief. “Oh, God...forgive me...”

Just then, he witnessed the second fallen figure slowly rise. “Uh...” He began to tremble as she turned around, her expression weary but still quite menacing.

The girl was weaker but a dark force inside her refused to wane. It continuously fed her desires, favoring survival over conscience. Before, she had been killing to satisfy her bloodlust. However, now there was something deeper calling to her...a need to replenish, to restore. Before she realized what was happening, she was flying toward the man, a ferocious predator closing in on its prey.

The villager simply stood there, idle with conscience, as she leapt at him. He was knocked over, weapon slipping from his grasp. The girl slammed his head hard against the ground once, causing him to become dizzy. She then drew even closer, sinking her fangs into his throbbing neck. Sweet nectar flooded her hungry mouth and eased her voracious desire. She bit down harder, thick, crimson ribbons briefly flickering from the man’s punctured flesh. She sucked out his blood with an aching, boundless thirst, her lips overflowing with the forbidden extraction.

A weak moan brought her back to her senses. She slowly opened her eyes, jaws releasing his neck of her lethal grip, and returned to her previous state. Why hadn’t this man yet passed on? She had taken enough blood to have killed him.

It wasn't long before she realized the sound hadn’t been emitted from the man at all. She turned her head to follow this sound and set her eyes upon a child of very few years. Her expression turned horrified as she stared at this child, this little boy who had witnessed her murderous rampage all this time. The realization that this frightened, swollen-eyed child had seen her at her worst behavior was beginning to fill her with an unforeseen shame. This strange sensation swept throughout her entire body, and the beast that had possessed her very soul up until that point was shattered.

The dark, syrupy liquid spilling from the corner of the girl’s mouth had trailed off her chin. She turned her attention back to her hand, where the drop of blood had landed. Glowing beneath the crimson on her palm was a soft blue light, which illuminated her revolted features. She then looked down at the body she had been attacking viciously in the previous moments and gasped, backing away immediately. The man lay there with his eyes half-open, devoid of life, dark blood oozing from his neck wound.

The girl turned from this gruesome picture, holding her weight up with her tainted hand. She opened her eyes and took one look around, but was met with a sight no less rewarding.

A village, one that seemed peaceful before her arrival—but now, bodies by the dozens were strewn all over the place. Had she truly done this? As if to seek an answer, she looked to the survivors who were huddled together in several groups, most of them women and children. They were staring at her, aghast but unable—or unwilling—to take advantage of her reemerging conscience. She could not blame them. Though she could not fully recall what she had done, she knew it was beyond redemption. She had killed all those people. She had brought terror and irreversible doubt to the ones who lived. She had—

—to run. This truth was overwhelming.

She ran from their accusing stares, reaching the outskirts of the village before she collapsed to the ground, retching blood everywhere. The thought that she had taken all of those lives was too much to bear; she could no longer subject anyone to her presence.

To flee, to hide—that is what she currently desired. She wanted to go to a place where she would be a danger to no one. She wanted to be free from this dark curse, this burning shame and hidden terror, she wanted to fly...

...and before she knew it, her arms were growing lighter but sturdy. Her shrinking form was lifted by these new wings, and soon they were carrying her into the skies. She flew for miles and miles, not caring where she went, just as long as it was far away from civilization, away from anyone she was certain to inflict harm upon.

I descended as a secluded lake came into view. It looked so pure, so pristine from up above. It was nothing like me, sullied and loathsome and terrible.

Still, as if keeping some minute hope alive that it could somehow save me, I hurried down to it. I transformed back and bathed myself frantically, washing my face, my clothes, my hair...once again facing the truth I was fleeing from.

It was true. I could not count the number of those that had lain at my feet, but I knew I had taken all their lives. The foreign blood still fresh on my lips had disclosed that much. And it seemed that no matter how much I cleansed myself of the foul liquid, the stench of human blood insisted on clinging to my cursed self. What had I become...? What was this existence, trying so hard now to rid itself of the residue of its sins...?

The first time wasn’t so bad, but, admittedly, the complete lack of recollection was the only thing that made it bearable. I woke up later that evening, crimson staining my fingertips and mouth, forcing myself to face the horror I would unlock with a single question. What had I done?

The next few occurrences were innocent travelers. I, too, was traveling...out of need, out of confusion, out of loss of myself. Again, my memories were pushed aside by an intense feeling, something I knew that, deep inside, was making me do something truly frightening. Little by little, these memories betrayed that feeling, showing me things I never thought I would resort to doing. Before I came into possession of my Moon Rune, no such thoughts would have ever crossed my mind.

When I returned to a more ordinary state, I ran forward, to anywhere, using all my strength. However, along the way, I lost consciousness, weak from all the stress and fatigue. I didn’t know when I woke up. The only time I achieved full consciousness was when that child’s cry pulled me toward it and I woke up feasting on a dying man’s blood like some wild animal.

They say things only get worse before they get better. I couldn’t let that happen.

I fled. I didn’t know where I was going; I just had to get away. Away from everyone, away from my sin, away from my cursed self. And so I retreated deep into the forest, where no human would truly reside. Imagine my surprise to find an abandoned old cottage sitting there, as lost and forgotten as I had desired to be.

I cried for days in that cottage, due to not just remorse over what I had done to those people, but over my inability to control my bloodlust as well. I knew I could not leave this place again or risk slaying another innocent life. I could only hope no one was unfortunate enough to stumble across my hiding place...

I often sat, staring out the window as the years rolled by. When I wasn’t yearning for a kinder fate, I was growing acquainted with the curse embedded in my body. Little by little, the rune revealed its secrets to me, as if in odd compensation for my current way of life.

Living in solitude for so long makes one extremely introspective, but at the same time, one grows too comfortable in the safety behind one’s own walls. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to involve oneself with others, and it becomes no less of a task to solve the problem.

So many people chide others, even mock and jeer at them, for attempting to do anything to fix a situation. They invest all belief into the futility of that situation, and deride those for believing otherwise.

There may have been a time I jeered; it has been so long I can barely remember. However, I now look at things in a different light, and have gained some degree of respect for those who do something about their problems. It matters not if their views are misguided; they refuse to remain idle. Because of this, they become more useful in a situation than those who can only stand around complaining.

For many a decade, I lived in this place, paralyzed by immense fear. Despite my gradual mastery over the rune, I did not trust myself to not lose control around the humans again. I was terrified of hurting anyone, anything, and eventually, I grew to hate myself. Many times I asked myself whether it was because I couldn’t do anything about my situation, or because I refused to do anything about my situation. However, I already knew the answer.

I was useless. That is what I chose to be. My heart may have been in the right place, but even after I was able to contain my bloodlust, I found myself unwilling to fix my situation. I still...did not trust myself.

Faithlessly—that is how I lived, every single day in darkness and utter dread.

Until one day...

He wandered into the part of the forest that had become my home. I was studying more of the rune’s secrets when he caught my eye. This injured knight...

My heart sank, initially not from any sort of compassion, but from the fear that I would once again give in to taking an innocent life. His wounds were the last of my concerns; I ran out in hopes of sending him away.

“Kind maiden...” he addressed me, his hopeful eyes blinded to the demon contained within the one before him. “I...I did not expect...anyone—”

I caught his fall to my own surprise and lowered him gently, helping him to rest against a tree trunk.

He gasped, choking out a mouthful of blood. “Please,” he implored me. “There is...there is a group just a ways out of this forest. I...I must know...the one I swore to protect...if she’s all right. Only then...may I rest in peace...”

I don’t know what made me do it. I did not know this man, and yet, I felt something for him. How strange it was to be reacquainted with something so gentle and warm. That pain in his eyes...much like the pain in the eyes of those who played witness to the destruction I caused...

I was nervous but determined. Perhaps, for me, this was a test. There was a new power growing within me, one that was quickly replacing my fears. I ran faster and faster out of that forest, as if hoping that what I found would make better my situation.

All of them lay there dead to my disappointment. I found the carriage turned onto its side, even the horses slain. I climbed up cautiously and peered inside, but the woman who lay there had received a fate no less merciful than the others.

My heart sunk. Though I was not the one responsible, I would have to be the bearer of bad news. This terrible thing I would have to tell the hopeful knight...

He took the news as I had expected him to. As he struggled to hold on to his final moments, I watched him, feeling a slight pang of bitterness. It was certain that he was suffering, but that would all end the moment he expired. A cursed existence such as mine was not so easily allowed that luxury.

“Then it’s true...” he said, voice full of despair. “Damn it all...despite...everything I’ve done...I wasn’t...wasn’t protect her. Forgive liege...I will...I will be joining you shortly...”

It seemed such a terrible die with regret...I had a sudden urge to change that. I wasn’t certain what it was at first, but wisdom of decades past came flooding back to me.

Don’t just be good...

It’s true I was afraid, and for many years I believed that staying away from the rest of society was the better thing to do, rather than allow anyone to get close to me and get hurt, or worse. But those years had passed, and perhaps, just avoiding the possibility rather than working with the problem itself was no longer enough.

The Blue Moon Rune was glowing, as if to guide me toward some long-awaited utilization.

Be good...

I brought my gaze back to the man, hoping my reason was good enough to play hero. Looking into his eyes, I am motivated to believe so.

...for something...

“It doesn’t have to end like this,” I told him. “I can grant you new life. From there, you can...avenge her. Avenge your liege...”

He smiled, comforted by what he thought of as a child’s fairy tale. “That would...that would be wonderful...”

“I’ll make it happen,” I assured him, knowing he didn’t believe me.

I brushed my lips against his neck, feeling the warmth leaving at a rapid rate. Determined to provide for him this rare opportunity, I bit deeply, forcing from him his last mortal breath. The rune’s powers and my own feelings were coursing strongly through my veins, encouraging me to finish the job. Because for once, I was being good for something.

That is what I believed. I believed I was his savior with every pure intention. And I believed that, with the powers that resided in me, it was my duty to provide him what he needed. At least, that's what I wanted to believe.

But truthfully...

I think I was just lonely.