((Originally posted by Ashea.))
(Against what is probably wise advice, I'm posting my story. Expect more to clarify some of the detachedness. ^_^)
Child of Shadow, Child of Flame
It’s that same dream again. I’m awash in darkness, but the darkness doesnot frighten me, for I know he is there, holding me, keepingme safe. I hear the approach of metal, the cries in common of our pursuers,cries in voices I would learn to know all too well, voices that belonged topeople I would come to call master. People I would learn to hate more than hateitself, beyond words, beyond thought…but people I would be forced to serve bodyand soul.
But he held me then, he cooed to me that I would be safe, told me thathe would die for me. With flashing blades of white-hot steel, he stood betweenme and them; a wall, a stalwart guardian that would not fall to their hatred,who would die for me…
He did die for me. He did fall. He held me and wept before they stole mefrom him. I am awash in darkness, but the darkness does not frighten me…they frighten me.
It’s that samedream again. I’m awash in moonlight, but the night does not frighten me, for Iknow she is there, holding me, keeping me safe. I can no longer hear ourpursuers. I know someone is holding them at bay, someone is keeping us safe,but I cannot remember who. I do not know him, all I know is her.
The mountains shrink in the distance and I know we have eluded them. Sheheld me then, cooed to me that I would be safe, that he laid down his life forus so that we would live, even if he did not. That was his final gift to us.
He did die for us. He did fall. But we were safe. She held me and wept.I am awash in the night, but the night does not frighten me. Nothing frightensme anymore.
The dream continues, though I long for it to end and for the memories tocease. The pain I experienced, though a distant memory, comes flooding back tome as surely as any physical pain I have experienced since. I can feel thesting of their whips, their jeers and jibes. They think themselves superior,they think they are my better—worse yet, they try to convince me of this, thatthey are my master, that I am a slave, no better than a dog…that I am theirweapon.
The dreamcontinues and I long for it to never end, for the memories to continue on foreternity. The pain I experience every waking moment is a distant memory andonly in my dreams do I see what is real, unfettered by nightmarish visions ofpain and suffering. Only in my dreams can I remember what it was like to betruly free, before I became his slave, no better than a dog…his weapon.
I struggle to wake,though I know I cannot, not until I relive the years of servitude, ofgroveling—it is more painful, I think, to remember how they cowed me,suppressed the fire of honor and glory in my veins…how they removed what mademe me, the orcish blood that was supposed to make me strong. They used thisstrength, the strength of my blood, to make me feel inferior, to make me feellike an animal. They taught me to beg, they taught me to roll over…but most ofall, they taught me to fetch. Whatever they wanted, I got for them. Unseen,unheard, I was a shadow, I was nothing. They sent me to do for them what theycould not do for themselves, and I did it. I was happy to do it, for the rewardfor success was a cold, unappetizing meal, though never praise…and the price offailure was a swift and painful death.
I longed for bothequally.
I struggle toremain asleep forever, though I know in the end I cannot and I am doomed tocontinue to live my eternity of servitude, of groveling—it is more painful, Ithink, to remember how free I once was, free of the pain of this existence, ofthe waking nightmares I drift through like a phantom of shadow and flame. Eventhe momentary reprieve of my dreams, dreams of a mother and father who riskedall to see that I would not grow up an animal, is hollow. Everything is hollow,for even this dream of freedom and love will turn to sanguine horror, for I cannever forget the attack—not the humans who had long since given up on pursuingus, but something worse, something nameless and wicked, drawn to me by myblood, the fire of demonic taint that had burnt out…and the shadows of thatwhich still remained. It was drawn to me. It wanted me to do for it what itcould not do for itself, and I do it. I think back to what I could have been, aslave, cowing to humans like an animal and think to what I have become: aservant of a nameless horror that holds my soul as casually and carelessly as achild holds a glass doll…
I long for both equally.
And then, asquickly as the dreams of slavery and horror begin, they fade from me…but notbefore I catch a fleeting glimpse of her, my savior—my matron. I laughbitterly when I wake, sweat-stained and shaking (though even in the mostharrowing of waking moments, bathed in battle and blood, my hands and mind aresteady), to think that I am cursed to relive the horrors of oppression andslavery every night…and yet am doomed to never live through my salvation, thatI cannot watch the Matron Proudhoof rescue me from them and adopt me as herown, though I still feel unworthy of such an honor.
Despite the dreams,despite the pained memories of a family lost, stolen from me by bitter enemiesto whom I did no wrong, I look out to the rising sun over the plains of Mulgoreand I think that whatever pain may come, it will pale in comparison to that Ihave already faced…
And I smile.
And then, asquickly as the dreams of freedom and love begin, they fade from me…but notbefore I catch a fleeting glimpse of him, my tormentor—my master. Ilaugh humorlessly when I wake, sweat-stained and shaking, to think that I amcursed to relive the beauty of that one selfless sacrifice…and yet doomed toalways awaken to the nightmare that is my life, that I cannot go back to thattime when I was innocent and untouched by this taint, for now I am unworthy ofsuch an honor.
Despite thedreams, despite the fleeting memories of a loving family who would give all tosee me free, stolen from me by a malevolent force to whom I must obey, I lookout into the dead of the Desolace night and I think that whatever pain I haveyet experienced, it pales in comparison to that which is yet to come…
And I sigh.
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