Salubri: One Point of View
I am Salubri. To most, this means I am evil - called devil, demon, soul-stealer, kin-slayer, diablerist, and more. To me this means I am a living martyr - or more appropriately, an undead martyr. In the beginning, my people fought darkness with fang, claw, and blade. We drove back the demons that rose up to claim our kindred brothers and sisters and fashioned ourselves as a bulwark against the evil that sought inroads to our already cursed race. Every Cainite knew our name and spoke it with reverence. Doors opened and hands extended when we came calling, and we found quarter with all who realized the burden and nobility of our charge. This charge - to battle the minions and servants of evil - was as trying as it was noble however, and eventually even the greatest among us was led astray by pride.
Many - even among my own kind - think our darkest moment came when our father-maker was slain by Tremere. In truth, our darkest moment came when we lost our way - when we failed to follow the path of redemption and strayed into the vast wasteland of self-love and conceit. In this, our path to redemption was made more difficult - all hands turned against us, and there was no quarter to be found anywhere among our own kind. Now we exist in the time of true trial - the real test of our devotion to the path, to our humanity, and to all that is good and right. Now we face the last challenge we will be afforded, our last opportunity to redeem our immortal souls.
I am young in comparison to the world, the most recent childe of a line that stretches back to the very beginning of time on earth. Within me, I carry the souls of all those who proceed me. I am trusted with the perfected souls of my ancestors, those spirits that overcame the curse of the beast and rediscovered their humanity in Golconda. As guardian to these sleeping souls, I must either see them to the judgment day when they will finally know peace, or select a new worthy to entrust when I achieve this perfection of self. It is a heavy burden I bear, to know that if I fail, all those who have lain their trust in me will be destroyed - to know that their great efforts will have been for nothing. I must survive to fulfill my promise to my forbears, and I must join them in their enlightened state.
I do not know if other Cainites once understood our custom that they now term simple diablerie, or if understanding would make a difference. I have tried to explain to some that what they call murder of the highest order is actually a magnificent bond of trust between sire and childe, but my words seem always to fall upon deaf ears. Before my sire entrusted me with his soul, he warned me that none would ever understand this practice. I have not given up hope so quickly however, and remain optimistic that someday, someone will understand. Until that day, I am hunted for slaying my sire in cold blood. I reason that this is part of the challenge all my kind must face, that this is part and parcel to the trials I must endure to be worthy of redemption. I am ashamed to admit this does little to assuage the sadness I experience when I encounter such treatment.
I remain confused about others' views on the soul, despite my best efforts to understand. On the one hand, I have often heard it said that we have no souls - that we are damned, and our souls descended straight to hell to suffer the moment kindred vitae touched our lips. I have heard those same voices speak my clan name with fear, and call me soul stealer. I do not understand why they fear the theft of something they believe they do not have to steal, unless their claims of damnation are only meant to mollify their fears of the afterlife. I do know that they fail to understand that my gift is not to destroy souls but to heal them, and that this too is demanded as part of my redemption. Perhaps their resistance is simply part of my trial also - perhaps the cruelest part of all. It pains me to be met with fear and rejection when I endeavor only to help them and myself, and to be thought the very monster my blood once railed against.
The largest trial, however, is not to fall to the easy path in these hardships - not to smite those who would destroy me, not to use my gifts to destroy, not to become the beast that would end all this pain and hardship in the blink of an eye. I could destroy my would-be pursuers, but in doing so I would destroy myself and all those who have trusted me with their salvation. I could abandon the path that makes my life so difficult, but in doing so I would abandon all hope of redemption - both for myself and for all those who came before me.
Really, it is no choice at all - for while many of my hateful brothers and sisters have the temporary luxury of believing themselves already damned, I know better. I must seek Golconda and rediscover humanity. I must keep myself and those souls I guard safe from harm without causing harm. I must heal those who would let me, and forgive those who would hunt me.
I am Salubri, and I know what it means to face eternal damnation.
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