In my skin I feel the corruption crawling, and I wonder now what is truly real. What used to be real is what they want me to know, or at least that is what was real up until now.
I've written in this journal before, this journal that they never bothered to think of, to search for. Why? Only because I am not supposed to be doing this. I am not supposed to be able to think on my own, that is a Sin to them. That is the Sin.
And yet here I am, thinking, and writing, a skill that I remember I never have been taught, nor have I learned it on my own. They know this not, the fact that I am learned, and I can even work some of the more complex magicks within the world. Some of the spells that take years to learn, I can use without a thought. As if the knowledge is already within me, coming from other source. There are other things as well, as the playing of the piano, pulling out sounds that I know I have never heard before, except within my own mind.
And yet, no matter how much I know I am different from the others, I know that I am all too much of the same being as they. This goes beyond the look that all of us carry, the look of pallid skin, sable eyes, and dusky hair. All of us, when we are called from the living chambers, must do the duty that they tell us to do. We must travel to where they say, kill whom they want, and return when that is done. Yet I know that I do not belong, that I am something unnatural within this world. I know a few others expect this as well, but I dare not voice my opinion. I watched another like me question them, and that was the last night that he was ever seen. Some of us, later that night, heard his screams, for the structure is usually silent. Not just at night, but all of the time.
There is another thing I know now, something that I know they would kill me for as many times as they could with their foul magicks, something that they took away from us, if we ever truly had it. Freedom.
What was supposed to be left behind for me? Nothing, and yet I have what I have come to cherish. Memories, memories that I know are not my own.
The song, how familiar it was to her. It took her back to the day when she was but a young lass, to the man who had held her within his loving arms. But, alas, that wasn't to be. Her destiny was not her own to choose, and thus that man had wandered from her life for what seemed forever. Listening to that song now, she was taken back to the last few moments she had had with that man.
"Again, I am truly sorry that it must be this way, but from the start we both knew the world would not truly be our's. We knew that some day, in this cruel life, that I would be forced to marry to some far away noble. That is the way of the noble life," whispered she, with each word coming out tinged with the pain that she felt within her sundered heart. And the tears that came from her eyes were flowing like the blood that surely had to be coming from the slowly dying organ within her chest that held so much love.
Yet while she spoke, and while she cried, the man that was the object of her affection, he only played the song that he had written to her on the piano within the room. She had came to him within his own small abode, to find him practicing for the next show that he would be putting on. He was but a traveling musician, a mere commoner and fool compared to the noble man that she would be marrying. The notes wafted across the silent room once she was done speaking, and it was clear that he was crying as well.
His fingers danced upon the keys, pulling out the bitter-sweet melody as he could pull out moans of pleasure from her body when they were alone. Her eyes closed as he merely continued to play the song in silence, the song that had made her heart weep with joy. But now? It only added to the pain that she felt, the pain that was so much it made her want to just let go and die now, instead of waiting for Fate to come along. She couldn't take his eerie silence, nor the painful love that the song brought up within her, for it was just a reminder of the life they could never spend together. Hiking up the skirts of her dress after pulling her hood over her head once more, she fled from the room and from his life forever.
"Pazil, is it truly you?" she whispered as she came around the corner of her house, eyes going instantly to the piano that she had her late husband buy her as a keepsake of the man, Pazil, that she had left behind so long ago. After that night she had left him, she had been married naught but a month later. While she grew to care for her husband, and the children that they had together, it never came close to what her and the traveling musician had shared.
But, her husband was years dead, and she had tried to search down Pazil. There was no success though, but upon being awoken with the song he had written for her so long ago, the song that haunted her dreams every night since she was forced to leave, it gave her hope that perhaps he had received word of her searchings and came to her.
Indeed, it appeared that it had, as her eyes grew used to the darkness as she studied the figure near the piano within the darkness. Still the song, that cursedly beautiful song that still brought tears to her eyes, from both love and pain, was played upon the piano by the shadow-shrouded figure, his fingers moving with just as much talent as Pazil before.
Yet as she stepped closer, she could clearly see that it was not Pazil, or at least it wasn't the Pazil that she expected. Where she had aged normally, what wonder would have kept him from doing so? He was as young as the day she had fled from his company, if not younger; how her memory was faded. And didn't his hair used to be red, instead of the pitch black that it was now? With a few more steps, the shuttered lantern that she carried filtered out more light to the mysterious figure on the piano, and there came her last hint that this was not Pazil.
The figure's ears, they were pointed! Not like an elven man's, but rather like the half-breed's that were known to occasionally happen. This gave her a start, and she wondered what sort of foul magicks brought a man who looked like Pazil and who knew their secret song to her house, decades after their last night together?
She got the sense that something wasn't right, yet with each and every note that the dark stranger played on the piano, the strings vibrating with his skillful fingers plucking at the keys, still pulled at her soul's strings as well. Now the tears that were welled within her eyes came forth, as she wondered if she was dreaming or perhaps dead, with this being her eternal punishment.
The man sitting near the piano cocked his head as one of her tears ran from her cheek to slip off her slightly wrinkled face, and to splash upon the boards of the floor. His eyes lifted to watch her, the lady who was haunting his memories for unknown reasons, memories that he had a feeling he should not have. His head cocked to the side, and he closed his eyes, his eyes that were as dark as the night.
She watched, in amazement, as one single tear came from his eye and she brushed it away from his cheek.
I've been here before, I know that much. Perhaps not in the place, but in this state of mind. And much like the times before, of which I can recall like a hazy dream when one awakens, there aren't many details that I know. Just a sense of duty that I must accomplish. This time, I think to myself why? Why am I doing this? Other than the fact that I feel that I need to, there is no reason.
The words whispering in my head? I have a feeling that those aren't natural as well. If they are, are all these people I see walking around me in this city hearing the same words, perhaps different versions, in their heads as well? Are those words, much like mine are, telling them to find a certain person and to kill them? If so, many people will most likely be dying this day.
One, for certain, will be dead by mine own will and blade. I recall one time, when I first awoke to cognition of what was going on, that I tried to fight back against the seductive whisperings of the words. There was pain, a great pain, as if I was being torn limb from limb, or rather worse. It was as if each small part that makes up my entire body was being removed piece by piece, in the most painful way possible.
The pain was enormous, and I blacked out from it, much as I recall doing after every event like this. I awoke much sooner though, to find the hilt of my blade sticking from the wide opened mouth of some poor, unfortunate soul. For what reason? I know not, but obviously the knowledge isn't meant for me. The person before me was dead already, my blade piercing through the back of their mouth and coming out the back of their head. From what little I did know, that would take a great strength.
Coming back to the present, back to trying to find a way to escape the words as they whispered to me, I saw the person that would fall before me this day, despite the fact I wanted to leave. Oh how I wanted to leave.
The child was standing off to the side of the Lord Tarquin's carriage, a visiting nobleman from some land to the east. Tarquin took a look at the child out of the window of his carriage; the young one appeared to be just another street urchin. With clothes that looked like they were from four fashion fads ago, and ripped and patched together to make a garish assortment of the fashion of the poor, Tarquin couldn't help but feel sorry for the young one. The rankness that washed off the young child was near overwhelming, but he wouldn't let that put him off. He was a kind man at heart, when not angered by disobedience of his own servants, and had decided to do what he could for this little alley rat.
Tarquin himself was dressed in the newest style of clothing, which meant they were embroidered with various rare and precious metals, or imitations for those who were not rich, but were not poor either. He wore a debonair coat that proclaimed the wealth that had been passed down from generation to generation, then finally to him. He didn't squander his money needlessly; to him, keeping up with the current fashions, no matter how much it cost, was a prudent spending necessity, as he didn't want to lose reputation in the eyes of the other Lords and Ladies around the area. Which was why he wore a greatcoat of the finest material, something that would not be overly warm in the summer, and yet would retain warmth in the colder days of the fall. Around the edges of the coat was the costly metal of gold so fine and thin it could be woven like a spider's thread woven into plentiful designs that contained the standard of his own house, and personal symbols of his own. The coat itself was of a midnight azure hue, and the gold matched well with it, as well with the virgin white shirt beneath it. His breeches were of the same cerulean shade, embellished as acutely as the coat was.
The child stared at him with expecting eyes, but did not speak the begging look that was within its gaze. For with the bulk of its clothing, pieced together like some ancient and soiled quilt, it was hard to determine the sex of the child. In fact, not much could be seen about the child, other than a bit of pale skin beneath the layers upon layers of clothing, and a headful of raven-dark hair atop the child's barely visible head. Tarquin, noting that the carriage was still stopped for some scene being caused further up along the roadway of the city, opened the ornate door of the carriage and stepped out, calling to his driver to hold up if the congestion happened to clear up. The people behind him could wait a few more minutes, if the passage did happen to become unobstructed. Stepping forward to the child, he squatted down some, refusing to kneel in the grime that littered the streets.
"Little child, is there naught that I can do for you?" murmured out Tarquin cheerfully, tilting his head to the side as he put his most winning smile on, the one he used often when courting Ladies. They oft never refused, whether it was for his power or his looks, he did not care to think on that.
Silence was his answer though, from the child, which continued to stare at the extravagant figure of Tarquin. This caused the nobleman to think some, wondering why the child did not answer. He was accustomed to getting answers when he wanted them, or at least some sign of what he should or could do to help. But from the child, nothing came.
"Perhaps you would like a few gold coins to take back to your family, so you all might be able to get a good meal, and perhaps some clothing? Hmm? Isn't that a good idea?" murmured out Tarquin again. As he spoke, he continued to watch the child before him, his hand moving towards his money pouch so he could fetch a handful of coins. Though he caught a bare glimpse out of the corner of his eyes, he never knew what really happened, nor would he ever.
This is where I was told to come; this is where I was told to wait. The Lord of the Lions should be coming soon, along this way. I was told that there would be some sort of confusion caused by others that work for the same peoples who give me my orders.
Ah, there is the carriage now. The symbol upon it, that of two Lions, matches the one that I was told to watch and wait for. And, as if on cue by my seeing the carriage, some obscure noise came from a few blocks up the roadway, and then came the stalling of the rest of the line. The carriage of the Lion Lord came to a stop before me, and I stepped from the alleyway I had been waiting in, letting myself into the light as I stared up into the carriage, a begging look on my face.
There he is now, scrutinizing me as I study him. As expected, he climbs his way out of the carriage, making a grand show of the clothes that he wears, carrying himself with a lofty step as he came to approach me.
The words he spoke were utter nonsense to my ears, but I was told to expect that. He continued to speak, a slightly angry look on his face as I apparently did not give him the answers that he wanted. Then came the last move that I was to watch for, that of his hand moving for the bulging money pouch that he wore openly at his waist. For only a few would dare to strike out at such a nobleman of power.
Yet that was what I was sent to do, and it's what I did. As his hand cleared the drawstrings of the pouch, my own hand came flashing out of the layers of clothes I was wearing, a glint of shimmering metal appearing only a second in my hand as I made my move. As I carried out the will and wishes of my Masters.
The dagger that was held in my hands flashed out, across the exposed jugular of the man standing before me, and blood came forth as a fountain. At first I thought perhaps it had started to rain, but then I noted the smell of the copper and salt in the air. Then there was the added warmth that I felt suddenly on my face as the blood now spurted out between the clutching fingers of the man's hand as he raised it in surprise.
The carriage driver, who had been watching over his Lord in case there was danger, let out a call for the city guards, which was only an echo barely heard underneath the clamor being created further up the roadway.
It was then that I stepped back into the alleyway, into the darkness where I had originally come from.
::December 22, 2002 09:58 AM