It was a few days after we departed from Tymrben, a confused yet grateful existence alongside my friend Bellamy. Our journey would take us out into the great unknown, as we would honor Bellamy's dream together and spread the virtue of heroism across the world like the declaration of a mighty emperor unto all under heaven. Bellamy seemed to have a good idea of where we were going, yet I was happy to simply tag along, careless like a feather flowing along the mighty wind that was the Dream-maker.
As many heroes had done before us, we sought out simple, honest work, important for any journey's beginning. We stopped by a roadside inn on our travels to rest, conversing with its keeper and laughing the night away. Bellamy is often troubled by many thoughts, the well-being of his parents, the quest ahead... Our lack of funds. Like the most devout of ascetics he has chosen to take only what he needs and give away all that others would make better use of. As I am of no virtue or ability, I merely serve as a reminder of our own needs to him; we can't save the world on an empty stomach. As if we were following the scriptures of a writer most influential, we acted the part of fatigued travelers before a good night's rest, only to be interrupted by the intervention of a story of malice, poured into the story by the cruelty of a defamer most vile.
Screams filled the once peaceful inn, the sound of weapons drawn all too familiar to Bellamy. Somehow, it was a sound I was also accustomed too, yet in my time with the Bashira family, I had fought for naught, only ever breaking things during one of my most manic of episodes, yet combat and violence seemed like the most natural of concepts to me. I armed myself with my flail, my shield and my faith in my friend, and we rushed out to meet the interlopers. A small band of thieves, catching the guards by surprise, had weapons in hand, most likely stolen from their victims, their eyes filled with greed and their words spewing poison towards the innkeeper, demanding their unfair share of his business. My hesitation nearly cost their lives, as Bellamy flew into battle with his sword, his polearm far too large to swing without risk to man and property both. With nearly no effort, Bellamy was already taking the upper hand in the fight, like a lion trampling over stray cats, his sword clashing against their own with the force of an angry river, swatting them aside with ease and disarming anyone foolish enough to attempt a parry. My reflexes lacking, I simply watched as he was already done dealing with the assailants... With all but one.
The innkeeper, a man most benign, was held captive by one of the assailants, his dagger now at the innkeeper's throat. So demented was the gaze of the man, I was lead to believe his touch alone would drive one mad. With a scream, he managed to do what I thought impossible; stop the battle and disarm the Dream-maker. "Oi stop! Drop it, or he gets the dagger treatment!" the words of the assailant were, proving further his lack of sanity, as his metaphor was one most silly, unlike the serious situation we had all found ourselves in. Bellamy, insightful as ever, slowly dropped his weapon, as the rest of the assailants were already dispatched; an easy task for a hero such as him, managing to keep their wounds to a minimum while defeating them all the same. Yet the most difficult of tasks was before us, a realization I came upon too late.
All suddenly made sense. The assailants eyes betrayed a single emotion to me, one I was all too familiar with. Heeding none in my path, I approached, shield dropping on the wooden floor below, footsteps echoing in the silence of our little play's scene. The assailant shivered and backed himself under the staircase, screaming obscenities at me while swinging his sword in the air to halt my advance. But it is an advance that cannot be stopped. "Even if the gods speak fake promises, none can stall my return." These words violently echoed inside my mind, as if a being of inexorable power screamed for release, demanded a glorious battle, wished for death and destruction. With what the assailant thought to be an opening for me, he dropped the innkeeper and lunged at me, only to be met with fear itself. One spin, two spins, three spins and a swing, my flail soared through the air, followed by what could only be described as an indiscernible hole, coming at the assailant from the left, where the staircase leading upstairs once was. Was, for the entire length of them along the wall behind them would provide no resistance for the ball of steel that made its way through them, demolishing anything it touched as if it was made of air. A man afraid will do many things to survive; the first is to size up the enemy, try to intimidate them, then beg for mercy once outmatched. However, a man afraid is often fearful of a lack of choice. His head only an inch below the flail, the man froze, assailant no longer, he simply stared at my visage, the madness of fear gone from his gaze, now making way for the dawn of reason. Falling to his knees, he was no longer a threat.
"Pay for the damages. Apologize. Go home. Apologize. Work honestly. Suffer hardships but no injustice. Fight the ones worth fighting, not the ones fighting the same battle on a different front." I spoke my piece. The man nodded. He apologized to the innkeeper who was in the same trance-like state that the former assailant was. He nodded as well. No more words were needed, nor was our presence. Misfortune was what we brought to the innkeeper and the people he housed. We offered some money for the damages. He paid us instead. A determined man, he would not take no for an answer even if it meant his death.
We left shortly after we were done with aiding the wounded. Formal authority was not required for settling this dispute. No deaths, no real crimes. The sun had yet to dawn, our path was covered in darkness. Darkness... I am more comfortable in it than under the scorching sun. Bellamy broke the silence briefly, not to ask any question or inquire as of what happened. He only stated what was true at the time.
"You are injured, Noct." His face may be masked by a faceplate most distorted by his ever worrying expression, but his words are like a child's to my ears; full of honesty regardless of intent. The blade of the former assailant found purchase, yet the destruction I wrought was enough to make sure none noticed.
"I know." I said as my face met his own, a smile settling the conversation with no more words to be said. Yet in my mind, this scenario played out a million more times, the voice in my head silent yet dissatisfied with my cunning plan. I now know what the voice is; it is a source of power that makes demands of me. The voice asked for blood and violence, of destruction and fear. I made sure it got everything, tricking its basic desires with an act most insightful.
The voice asked for violence, I crushed everything my weapon touched.
The voice asked for dominance, I demanded a man to be free of fate.
The voice asked for blood, it tasted my own.
In return, I became lord.
In return, I became fear.
In return, I became...