Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists. Evren found it hard to grow callous to war. He walked aimlessly through the forest, just east of the Bay of Bothnia where he’d left a small fishing boat and a few bloodless corpses on an empty beach. Fingertips traced unmarred skin and the vampire clenched his arms in front of his chest, feeling suddenly short of breath. Jagged, malformed scars covered old wounds just beneath his ever-changing visage, and as he wandered north into the Finnic wilds, his centuries-old injuries gnawed at his bones and wracked his whole body with pain, as if trying to open anew and tear through his form to destroy him. He thought the free cities would be safe, until riot broke out in Donauwörth during a peaceful procession. He considered fleeing to Dänemark, until he learned that their Lutheran king was lusting after war just as badly as every other European lord.
In the midst of it all, the Swedes had built an empire that encompassed all of Fennoscandia. Evren’s body physically ached for the solitude of the Norse woodlands in a last-ditch effort to find relief from a war-torn world. The war may reach the Swedes, sure, but no power could truly tame the whole region; it was vast and mountainous, lush with forests and lakes teeming with the oldest magicks, older even than the shifting vampire who thirsted for them.
His shaking legs carried him to the edge of a small lake, surrounded on all sides by forest with distant mountain peaks just visible over the treetops. He fell gracelessly to his knees onto the muddy bank and drank deeply from the glassy water. Evren wasn’t sure if vampires had genuine need for water as a human might, but his dry throat persuaded him so. Taking deep breaths as he pulled back, Evren let the water settle so he could see a reflection of himself. He was tall, pale and a bit gaunt with tired blue eyes and thin lips. His curly dark brown hair was cropped short to his head, barely hanging over his freckled forehead. He had tried to look like a Norseman, though in truth he didn’t know how to look like much more than a pale German peasant. Hopefully it would be a close enough approximation that he wouldn’t rouse suspicion from whatever humans he encountered.