A span of several hundred years is enough to fit numerous different lifetimes, and Zephyr did.
In the vampire’s recollection of his history to others, fantasies and lies are deeply intertwined with facts. A fair part of his past is never spoken of and only resurfaces when certain people do, since he freely sheds layers of himself in order to adapt to the present. Only identity-generating cornerstones or narratives shared with significant persons remain.
The smell of old wood. The feel of the ruthlessly hot sunrays hardening droplets of seawater into salt on his face. The sting of callouses that never properly heal on his hands. According to the destiny bestowed upon him at birth, those callouses should have been inflicted by instruments of land cultivation. But he renounced the profession of his ancestors, refused to bend his back, and exchanged the ground beneath his feet for the lull of waves carrying a ship with a flag with a red cross on a white background.
The hitched whisper of a moan, Zephyros, in the heat of passion. A name of the gentle god of the West wind, the character he represented to his poet lover, having come from the sea with the arrival of spring. But even if he relished playing the part in the daydream, he enjoyed the variety of roles different encounters offered more. A lover in every port, a cliché of a sailor’s life, but he loved and lived it. So he took the love and tenderness, took his lover’s faith and innocence, at last took the name he liked, and left without a trace. One countless times. The establishment of his modus operandi.
The piercing dark eyes of the man who would become a game-changer. Shattering the illusion that this would be just another encounter, calling out his clumsy tricks and tactics as he saw right through him. And yet behind the smoke and mirrors, the man who was clearly superior also saw something worthy of being rewarded with the ultimate gift.
The hot blood of his sire pulsating through his veins and an all-consuming hunger in the pit of his stomach. The first years after the turn passed in a haze, but the raw violence of instincts and needs still invoke a sentimentality within him. For the first time, it did not feel as if he was waiting for an indescribable something. He was finally living. It was not a rebirth, as many of his kind refer to it, it was his true birth.
The bottomless opulence of the nobility as the setting for his education. By subtle hints and more expressive reprimands, his maker molded him into the socially adaptable manipulator that he is. It was no act of alchemy, though, no fundamental change of a common substance into precious metal, but rather a careful process of sieving through gravel to find the clunks of gold that were already present within. The reason for his maker’s choice became clearer with time, with every challenge and task that was put in front of him. He taught him not only about the social fabric of society and what it meant to be what they were, but also about making more than just a living economically and what it took to adapt to the times that changed more rapidly than most minds did. It was different, it was educational, it was exciting.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
Until it all became familiar, tedious, and boring. Over almost a century, his maker’s smooth, handsome features had burned themselves into the back of his retina, his mannerisms were painfully familiar, his wisdom had become his own. The man himself was obsolete. Contempt was born in his heart and burned in his stomach as a constant companion. He plotted and waited for years until the perfect moment came, his greatest feat being that he never allowed any of his intentions to be known to the man closest to him. It was not longer than a blink of an eye, but his sire was entirely vulnerable, hanging on a victim’s neck while concerned with compelling another. He struck swiftly, piercing his heart, ending his sire’s life, and with it, his unrelinquished control over him.
A quick succession of different faces, places, and occupations. He travelled the world again, under a black flag this time, only seeing the dark waters of the sea under moonlight, his crew using his ability to operate at night to their advantage in their raids. He was sireless, free. He sought out increasingly extreme and perverse experiences, and new darkness to step into. He found a few like-minded individuals who were looking for the same. They roamed the world together, unleashing themselves like natural disasters wherever they went. Like the winds. He already wore the name of a wind god, and it seemed only appropriate that the others would adopt them as well. They were four, after all.
The oldest of them all had been a Roman army commander in his mortal life, famed for his ruthlessness in battle. The name of the violent, crop-destroying South wind, Notus, fit him almost too perfectly. Although technically the youngest of the four, Notus’ fledgeling was changed at a more advanced age than the others and looked more mature, even donning a beard. Just like Boreas, the North wind. And then there was Eurus -- the walking, breathing vision of summer, named after the gentle Eastern wind. Her brutality was always a delightful surprise.
Decadent, violent, free. It was their life for decades, almost centuries. They fit so well together, so similar in their baselines, and where they were different, they complemented each other. Any obstacle that came in their way seemed insignificant and came undone when they combined their wits and areas of expertise to tackle it. It inflated their egos and made them think of themselves as invincible. Slippery as eels, able to escape any situation, no matter how sticky it was.
Until they weren’t.
It had all gone according to plan, or so it seemed, Notus’ plot to get rid of someone he held an old grudge against. The three of them managed to get a private audience with the very influential man, and while Notus was on a long-winded soliloquy explaining his hatred for the vampire, Zephyr positioned himself behind him and held him down as Boreas swung his sword to chop his head off. But they had been seen in their act, and despite cleaning the scene of the crime spotlessly, leaving no trace behind, the witness identified them. A hunt ensued, and a speedy trial followed. For they had not only made the mistake of leaving a witness, but also that of killing a Consul. The Council was anything but forgiving. Boreas was sent to greet the sun, Zephyr was sentenced to 200 years of exile from the old continent, and Notus, who was identified as the mastermind behind the murder, managed to escape before he could meet his death. Because she hadn’t been involved directly, Eurus was not wanted by the council and had left on her own accord before the trials started.
Later, after some years alone and away from Europe, roaming, searching, restless, he found Eurus again. It was in one of the places on the new continent that he had visited before but it had since blossomed from a small settlement to a booming city. New Orleans. Eurus was not alone; she could never stand solitude and had sired a companion for herself. The three of them came across another recently turned fledgeling in a miserable state, not knowing how to take care of himself and mostly feeding on animals. As a form of amusement more than anything, they took him in and showed him the ropes, nicknaming him Chupacabra. But this bond was not to last too long, for as much as Zephyr and Eurus tried, it was never the same as it had been with the other anemoi and slowly but surely, each other’s presence grew to be a reminder of what once was and had been lost. They went their separate ways, Eurus taking off with her fledgeling, their ward, now able to control his hunger, going off on his own to seek revenge on his maker, and Zephyr…
...left to his own devices. Every face he met, every relationship was entered out of desperation to ward off boredom which seemed to come after an oversaturation with experiences. Boredom, the brother of death. He wore many names and many hats, from a cult leader, to smuggler, to lover, to hunter of magical artifacts, to backpack traveller. While changing places of residence a lot, he usually chooses to reside longer where he had acquired property, rotating between Brazil, the US, and Indonesia. Returning always for another adventure, for another trick, for another fantasy.