A faceless swordsman, composer of poem and song.
Exploring the Shar
Indiscernible / adult humanoid.
Date of Birth
Indiscernible, magic masks their features too greatly to tell, identifies as a man for simplicity's sake
Indiscernible, magic masks their features too greatly to tell
Around 125 lbs
Dream-Maker Part 4: The Sleeper Awakes
The well deserved rest of the heroic allies I travel alongside was now over, the treck back to civilization soon to come. The expedition to the Shar was one for people more learned than I, a man of little knowledge or ability. With the professor and his assistant concluding parts of their research, we all begin the long walk down the path of homecoming. Many strange creatures we met on our way, with the Owl managing to strike up proper conversations with them, learning many wonderful things about the deepest parts of the jungles. Alas, I bore witness to events far more important in the days to come, thus this tale has somewhat faded from my mind. I only now, many days later, find the time to continue writing the story of the Dream-Maker. Arriving in Qesrir, the air was heavy and somehow sad, something I immediately picked up on. No, the others are far too pure of soul to understand what this place was being plagued by. Something lurked in the alleyways of the town square, something that none were prepared for. Spending our time recovering from the exhaustion of our previous journey, the Talima lodge was contacted by the local law enforcement, one Inara requesting our presence. As we already knew of her, having worked with her men before to manage the case of the attack on the market recently, my heroic friends prepared for the worst, arming themselves for what was sure to be a horribly violent situation. Worry was painted on their faces, even the Son Of Rock was oddly round in shape, his rectangular appearance fading briefly as doubt settled in. My inability to aid them in any way did the heroes no favors. After what seemed to be an eternity of walking, we reached Inara's office and were informed briefly of the situation she was dealing with. Evil drew closer, yet she had managed to somehow catch rumors of a coming trade caravan, coming from the Talaros house. With the wind giving signs of a stormy weather to come, suspicions arose. Everyone but I drew the same conclusion; The kidnapped people would be taken out of their hiding spot from inside the town and out into the great unknown. The plan was swiftly set for the coming night, the night when it would all take place, and we began strategizing. Despite all my desperate attempts to make the Dream-Maker change his mind I was drowned out by the voices of the others and was thus separated from my trusted friend. Oh Bellamy, how foolish of you to stand among evil without one of darkness to warn you about it. The plan was for us to split into two separate parties, one guarding the wagons that would head southwest, the other guarding the one heading for the town center. The weather swiftly shifted to match the coming storm of blades that would follow soon, a terrible omen only I was able to understand. The downfall of heroes often comes from their own lack of understanding of evil and its ways. Everything up to the point of no return was a blur for me, with many voices being silenced by the raging wind and the crashing thunder. What I last remember was a man of shadows unleashing his countless minions upon us, waves of shadow-magic flooding the immediate vicinity. At home in such vile depravity, myself was kept safe and my skills, however meager they are, carried me through the worst of it... However, not everyone else was as fortunate. After the dust was settled, the ever-pouring rain was not enough to cleanse the land of the blood of those who died that day. Many men and women lay dead beneath my feet, while others struggled with denying the stranger their soul in the afterlife. In horror did I watch as my friend and Dream-Maker lay wounded and seeing the end approach. An inglorious end for a hero that history will remember until the end of time. I never got to say goodbye. I never got to hear his last words. All I knew when it was all over was that Bellamy Bashira was no longer by my side. A manic euphoria filled the voice in my head when the realization hit me, I was no longer safe from it. The Dream ends here, the sleeper awakes... but what nightmares does he bring from the other side? -Dream-Maker, The End
Dream-Maker Part 3: Honor Among Beasts
With myself trapped inside the lodge, recovering, the rest of the Heroes set out to find answers. Answers to this horrible crime that took price in a place of fun and happiness that was last nights market. I could only imagine the mind-numbing puzzles and riddles the Dream-Maker and his newfound friends would have to go through to gain even a snipet of information on our enemy, the Black Fang. As I lay here alone in bed, I let my mind wander, seeking my own answers, answers lost in a shattered memory, drowned in a dream long forgotten. To my surprise, the voice is silent, perhaps satisfied with the carnage that the attack on these innocent people caused... for now, at least. I have come to understand that the voice is never truly sated; simply distracted by a good meal for a short while. What I managed to recollect is a story for another time, however, as more important matters soon came to light. Bellamy burst inside the lodge, his grip around the long, hard shaft of his polearm tight with righteouss anger, his voice full of resentment for the horrible villains that respond to the call of the Black Fang. "Monsters in the guise of men! Demons! The worst kind of soul bringing about the worst kind of curses!" Yelled the Dream-Maker, things he would know very well as he is accompanied by a vile creature such as I. When the earth stopped shaking in fear of the great hero, Bellamy took a moment to rest his anger, composing himself swiftly and explainin the situation. Not only have the Black Fang created what we come to call "Arcanite Bombs" inside their servants, they may have put them in others, people they have abducted. Working with a local officer of the law named Inara, my heroic friends were about to witness the study of a dead Black Fang's corpse by a certified mortician, as the room went bright with an accursed light of arcane make, the now familiar to us explosion engulfing the mortician and critically wounding him. With unmatched stoicism, the Son Of Rock, Teremun, settled his gaze upon the mortician's apprentices, immediately bringing them back from the brink of maddening despair, his long, almost rectangularly shaped face revealing to them that he is a hero most powerful. Wasting no time, the Dream-Maker himself kicked off the remains of the body of the Black Fang and replaced it with the wounded mortician. Alas, powerful he may be, but the Dream-Maker is incapable of medicine, sometimes confusing medical alcohol with ale, inciting totally unjust rumors of him being a drunkard. To his luck, Pari The Owl and Great-Best Inventor Vurak were there to take command of the situation, using secret techniques that I am to never reveal, combining science with magic, to bring back the mortician from the brink of the Stranger's grasp. I was scared to ask of what else occured, thus I blanked the rest of the discussion from my memory. Suddenly, a knock on the door of the lodge alerted us to the presence of not one, but two visitors. One was a snake most vile, poisoned words dripping from it's mouth under the vile cover of a supposed visitor of Wyr, our poor magical ally. Despite my many attempts to reveal the true identity of the serpent to my allies, none are as despicable as I, thus none could sniff out its corruption. The other visitor was a young girl, a learned one, an academic named Aira, studying under the famous Professor Swllvayn. She came to invite us to speak with him so that we may begin our foray into the jungle soon, putting our backs into a dangerous task we so quickly signed up for. It was not long before we armed ourselves with weapons and armor, steeled ourselves with Heroic Resolve* (everyone aside myself) and met up with the learned Swllvayn. To our surprise, he was in possession of a strange artifact, an object that shed light whenever a certain extremity of its was flicked from left to right and right to left. The beam of light shines forward wherever its "head" faces! What an invention! To learn there were more of such creations hidden inside the jungles of the Shar! With joy did our group march forward, passing by the quiet village of Baila, a quiet stroll of ours, to make sure the resting men and women were not alerted of our foreign presence. Nothing important whatsoever happened in Baila and we definitely did nothing there, nor did we stay long, simply moving on and into the jungle. In this humid place devoured by nature, my senses felt numb, my boredom true, with words of the learned making me weary of this place already. It was however, all the plan of a creature even viler than I, Noct, who lurked in the darkness. Behind a bush, Pari observed the creature with curiosity. As it reared it's head to attack, as all snakes do when their prey is confused and weakened by their vile words, I sprung into action, laying down the law through the weight of my flail's head. Crushed and utterly annihilated, not even the soul of the snake was left behind, the memory of it even being there erased from the very memory of my allies. Perhaps... for the better. It was because their resolve was spared the wrath of evil that we managed to reach a water producing tree. On it, a beast of colossal proportions, a feline creature with black fur and hooked claws, fiery breath and a menacing glare loomed, its aura alone leaving behind the dark essence of this land to form the letters of the word itself in the air briefly, as it made an entrance. Speaking the language of beasts, The Owl conversed for hours with the beast, eventually convincing it to allow us, what the beast called "tresspassers" to rest here... if we were able of defeating her brood. Before a word left The Owl's lips, what can only be described as an ocean of darkness descended upon us, the brood of the beast numbered in the hundreds. The Dream-Maker smirked, his powerful facial muscles bending the steel of his faceplate to their command, a smirk for everyone to see. "Only a few hundred! Why, it would take a few thousand at least to make us buckle!" Said the Dream-Maker, with the massive frame of the Son Of Rock emerging behind him. Towering over the beasts, Teremun joined Bellamy in their fight against the feline beasts, dispatching the faster than my frail mind could count. With Bellamy's polearm displaying the power of the Bashira-Blam-Bam, a secret technique only used when the Dream-Maker has to fight many enemies at once, victory was assured. Add Teremun's mastery of the Thousand Forms, expertly applying the "Thousand-Lined Triangulations of Circular Displacement" to the mix, and the fight was a breeze! Overtly impressed by the might of these two great heroes, the giant beast before Pari conceded these grounds to us... For the moment. As she may bring thousands more of her brood in less than an hour, we knew this was a deal not to dishonor; Even heroes need rest and we had found our safe-haven.
Dream-Maker Part 2: Of Dragons and Fangs
As our afternoon nap came to an end, the Dream-Maker and I prepared for our nightly outting. The veil of darkness had began to embrace the outskirts of the Shar and Qesrir looked as well-groomed as we did in it. Bellamy's faceplate took on a gleaful expression as we met with out newfound companions outside the lodge, all looking quite proper for the occassion. Our thoughts left violence trailing behind our footsteps, so that we may return to our grim past at a later moment. Even the voice was quiet, perhaps something was keeping it busy inside my mind. Teremun, The Son Of Rock, had already lost himself in an abyss of food related thoughts, his face, almost rectangular in shape, shifting to a more square form each time he smiled to himself. Pari, The Owl, was already speeding ahead of us, swift in her promise to attend a stand of the noble lady that aided us in our entry of the town. Her choice of attire was questionable, though as I was informed before, these lands have different tastes to what I am accustomed to. Perhaps this speaks volumes of my previous life! A cleric most devout, who would reprimand all that he deemed to be provocative?! Or perhaps... I am just extremely old fashioned. Vurak was quiet, as he always was, scheming, planning his next great invention atop the Son Of Rock's shoulders. His perfectly smoothened and solid shoulders were at the appropriate height for the both of them to stand straight up and miss by less than a feather's width the strange rope that connected the many poles around the market. Food was abundant and splendid, the little creatures that had been turned to shashlik still screaming in despair through the veil of death... Yet none could hear it as clearly as I could, one so well versed in what lies in the most horrible of places, creatures as despicable as I. The evening was full of moments of happiness and fun, time well spent with the heroes I have come to call friends... Yet an evil omen foretold great suffering soon to come. As I perused the stands of many salesmen, I witnessed an old lady selling the finest of silks, with a pair of knitting needles resting before her. What I could only describe as the most shady of Elven figures, approached the old lady and bought said needles, leaving behind a menacing aura, as if the letters of the word themselves floated in hues of purple and blue behind her the moment she departed. Clarity struck my mind as I bought the finest of silks from the old lady, inquiring of the menacing Elf. An unknown figure to all, yet someone to be traced. I have this strange desire to commission her to fashion something for me. Perhaps it is the voice who asked it of me. With the omen of great suffering now past, it was Teremun, from his great height, who spotted something wrong, something terrible approaching. Figures laid bare in the shadows around the market, crawling and skulking, seeking out their prey. "Hmmm" the Son Of Rock said, immediately notifying us of the threat. Suddenly, a loud roar, agonizing screams and a loud crash, accompanied the birth of chaos around us. A gigantic dragon, grossly oversized and made of dancing blight, fell from the skies and attacked everyone in the vicinity. Without another word, I gritted my teeth and charged for the beast, bravery filling my heart as the Dream-Maker stood behind me. "Stop Noct, this is trickery!" said the Dream-Maker. To my surprise, I was the only one charging the foul beast. Why? How? It was simple. The dragonic creature before me was the result of a spell! Everyone else was already aware of this and found no reason to attack it, for it was impervious to attack! They spread out, seeking the evil spellcaster behind this beast of the arcane! What a fool Noct is to fall for such a simple trick! With great shame now creeping inside my already weak will, I retreated and followed after the Dream-Maker, for he is a hero without equal and knew best what to do. His eyes had already managed to pick up the movement of many of the crawling shadows around us, revealed to be evil men and women of a group most foul, later revealed to be known as the Black Fang. However, this is a story for another time, for combat was upon us. Glorious battle was joined! Bellamy was single-handedly decimating the army that was crashing upon us, while my meager aid was merely giving him the stamina to continue fighting. With our heroic group split up in search of the evil mage who conjured this beast, I was only able to witness the Dream-Maker's struggle, as more and more vile men and women poured forth from the edges of the market to attack him. With martial skill of legendary status, all were disarmed and made of little threat by the master swordsman by my side. Alas, it was my faulty skills that once again became a roadblock for us, leading to the death of all Bellamy managed to incapacitate. With no captives to interrogate, we had to wait for the others to come bearing news. The Owl soon arrived with naught but tales of dead men. I set out to find Teremun, surely the Son Of Rock would be able to capture one of them alive using his famed "Strikes Of A Thousand Triangulations", separating the enemy formation in such a way that at least one would be left behind. To nobody's surprise, he did indeed perform this deed, returning with a captive for us to question later. Vurak was not at all late himself, covered in the blood of his enemies, most likely destroying them by employing technology entirely unknown to this world. The captive soon rose, speaking madness and evil, words the pure heroes before me could not understand. One name stood out however, leading us to our next clue. Hemlock. Repeating this three times, the vile man exploded in arcane magic, which would have wiped all non-heroic creatures out were it not for the timely intervention of the Son Of Rock's granite frame, shielding us from the magic that poured out. However, regardless of his best efforts, I, being a creature of no virtue or ability, lost much of my ability to remember what came next, other than the warm bed waiting for me at Talima's lodge. I am sure that tomorrow, Bellamy and the other heroes will learn more of what is going on, while I recover.
Dream-Maker Part 1: The Gathering Of Heroes
It was a hot morning in the Pal'tanir, Qesrir welcomed us with a radiant sun that would burn away our very flesh were it not for our protective clothing. A wide hat such as my own makes for poor camouflage, but it does wonders to hide me from the punishing rays of the sun of these lands. We arrived here on a massive contraption called a train, a steam locomotive that burns hot and travels upon rails at a rapid pace. Surely nothing can stop it from coming through due to sheer size and material alone, wood and iron both. Aboard this vessel, we met with one Pari khan'Shald, a noble woman of proud stature and attractive measurements, hailing from the cold lands of Gelethis, a realm of the shardscape inside the Wyldrysc. Only a plane of the fae could birth a noblewoman of her appearance; one that holds a certain air of nobility and comfort alike. If it was not for her wings that shift to complement her chosen appearance, I would think her an Owl of the Moonlight from an imaginary tale. As she is a princess, Bellamy made sure to swiftly set the standard of our introduction through words most virtuous and noble, spending not a second more than was necessary to compliment her as was proper. Learning more of the princess was a fun activity, now realising that we are in the presence of both a noble and a researcher, a woman of both charisma and intellect both! Soon as we exited the train, Owl now in our company, our eyes scoured the area for one who would give us directions to our destination. Our expedition to the Shar and the jungles of it couldn't begin if we had nobody to direct us. It was not long before our eyes were set upon one I falsely perceived to be a local, when in truth, I was resting my gaze upon a hero. "Look... The height of a mythical figure, accompanied by a body akin to a statue representing a god of strength. His face nearly rectangular in shape, a judgemental stare that pierces through the soul... This man is a hero indeed." My meager words filled the quiet around me, as the Dream-maker stood tall, measuring the man's ability in less than whatever lies below a thousandth of a second, before he let form a stream of words that I am too little to recite, yet I do as I must and merely try. "Hello, we need directions." My mind nearly exploded, the Dream-maker approached the towering giant with no fear in his eyes, a stern expression visible upon his faceplate. The giant man, turning to face the heroic Dream-maker, stared deep inside his soul, making my knees weak for I am nowhere near their caliber. "Hmmm." Said the giant, a thrumming sound that shook the very foundations of the earth momentarily, before continuing. "No, I am also looking for directions." What a great fortune Noct has had to meet another hero of such might. Before me expanded a tale, a legend, of two heroes exchanging blows with evil most profound, yet standing side by side with impeccable form and bravery. As the two heroes stood there, somewhat confused of where to go, there was another who entered the scene. This one who much harder to notice, but equally as hard to forget afterwards. The small lizard creature stood on two feet and was in the possession of only one arm. The other was... Different. A genius combination of magic and engineering both, an arm made to replace his old one with superior technology the likes I have never witnessed before. You could see the incredible intellect hidden inside that reptilian skull of his from the simple glint of his drake-like eyes. His words sounded strange, his expressions strange yet easy to adapt to. He spoke "Vurak also doesn't know where to go." It cannot be coincidence. We all met for we chose to be here, to make our dreams come true. Perhaps our dreams are shared with one another and we know not of it yet. The problem was solved soon by none other than the Dream-maker, who valiantly approached the town. With ingenuity to match her appearance, The Owl strode forth and approached one of the people seeking entry into the town, masterfully convincing them of the importance of the matter. It would so happen the person she approached was an influential figure who granted us entry without any questions. Perhaps for the better. Now back to civilization, we used Pari the owl's knowledge of this area, gained by her interaction with this person of interest that gained us entry, to find our way around, swiftly ending up at our planned destination making no mistakes whatsoever while doing so. Talima Lodge, a form of housing provided to us by the Academics funding this expedition, aptly named, as Talima is the name of the woman who seemed to be in charge of the place. A curious locale to be sure, the shelter of a mysterious individual simply known as Wyr, a man with draconic features who is unable to speak. Surely he has chosen to do so to avoid wreaking absolute destruction upon the world, his voice a weapon capable of unraveling all under the unforgiving sun should it be allowed to echo freely. Thus I share a room with Bellamy yet again, as it should be. We were given a brief tour of this fine establishment, taking in all the necessary details that would make our stay here all the more comfortable. After we had finally settled, it was time to obtain food. Thus, our newly formed group of heroes, set out to find proper nourishment for our bodies. Bread and fish was on the menu. Finally resting at a fish restaurant that surprisingly charges services of preparing fish you have brought yourself, we counted the surprising amount of money we spent following Teremun's lead. Alas, food for a man so humongous would always come at a price. A high one at that. Getting to know each other better was the treat needed after this surprisingly well made meal of ours. Teremun, the giant man, revealed to us his tragic story, a background filled with greed, his people, one of the Veldraani tribes, wiped out entirely around twenty five years ago, destroyed by the hands of a horrible necromancer that ran rampant back then. Pari followed, revealing to the rest of the heroes her noble status and princely upbringing of her once gone queendom. Vurak spoke a tale of questionable details, revealing the events that lead to the loss of his arm and the creation of a new one. Bonding together over food and good company, it was a noon well spent. Heading home, we went about preparing our rooms for us to stay in, only of course until we inquired of the lodge further, and of course, the agreement Pari made with that influential figure who got us inside the town. She is meant to work a night market and attract customers through, what my weak mind considers to be, questionable means. A good way to spend the night we all agreed, promising to visiting her stall. With that matter put to rest, our attention was drawn to Teremun's desire to train... One sight to behold that would be, all of us were sure. Going outside to the courtyard, Teremun took off his shirt, the giant man practicing what he called "The Thousand Forms". With extreme focus, Teremun moved decisively about the courtyard, moving his giant polearm around like it was made of air, his stance confident and defiant. It was as if his presence alone would protect allies from harm. So powerful was his soul piercing stare that I averted my eyes whenever they met my own. When his exercise was done, Bellamy congratulated him on his performance... And the challenge was made. Teremun, the Son of Rock, challenged Bellamy the Dream-maker to a sparring match. The clash of these titans was sure to create chaos among the very fabric of reality were they to go all out, thus it was decided this would be them at their weakest, deciding merely the fate of the surrounding area. Their clash was brief, yet it was all that was required for me to understand how powerful, beyond all mortal ability, both of the heroes were. Each clash of their weapons shook the earth beneath us, causing the air to blow according to their swings. Teremun's extreme focus made him resist any and all blows, making Bellamy's attacks find no real purchase. Unprepared for this foe, Bellamy accepted defeat. Yet there was still someone who had something to prove closeby... With a single word, Pari entered the match, snapping Teremun out of his extreme focus, leaving him vulnerable. A lesson learned by everyone, we now had a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. With that valuable information shared between us, I thought it was time to retire for a few hours to prepare for our nightly venture into the market. And a venture to the start of our adventure together.
A Brush With Death
The brush in my hand was an object I had become very proficient in, the hair I brushed was as used to the brush as my hand was. The Dream-maker and I share this private moment together often, something we cherish, the quiet of the night our only company. It is only in darkness that the Dream-maker assumes his truest, most honest form, as all do. The blinding, burning radiance of the sun, hurts him as much as it hurts all truth under the sky of the gods and their unjust mandate. Behind closed doors and shut windows, with his helmet carefully rested atop the table before him, the Dream-maker is seated in a chair facing his faceplate, the two often sharing expressions that make it difficult to discern which one's face is the real one. As my meager height requires the Dream-maker to be seated appropriately low and in my reach, I approach behind him, the relaxing task of tending to the mane of my hero now properly taking place. It is the least I can do, grooming my saviour, for all the things he's done for me I can never repay. It was one of the days the Dream-maker sought out some conversation, as our temporary home in the desert was but a step away from the unknown territory that was the jungles of the Shar. "We are so close Noct. So close to starting our grand quest." Bellamy said, or at least I believe those were his words, as my frail ears are unworthy to properly comprehend his powerful and virtuous words. I smiled at his enthusiasm, briefly basking at his presence and letting his words sink deep inside my unworthy heart. "The dream is to begin, Dream-maker. A dream of your own making, a dream to surpass all dreams. Bellamy Bashira will be a name to echo in the annals of history for all eternity after our exploits here." I replied, desperately trying to find words to match those of the hero before me, or at least be acceptable enough to be heard in the same room as his own. However, it would appear my words had the opposite effect, one I did not anticipate. Bellamy, a hero of heroes, appeared rather disheartened, my own sorrow and despair seeping into him. Such is my lack of virtue that even the greatest of heroes sunk in my presence. A most disgusting creature is Noct. Despite my everpresent despair slowly filling the room, Bellamy somehow broke through it, fist tightening with immense strength, crushing my despair with the power of courage. "Yes, a hero. That dream will become reality. My own two hands will make sure of this." So said the Dream-maker, the immeasurable power of his spirit now overflowing. With renewed vigor, and my purpose in this tale reassured, I returned to the important task of brushing the hero's mane. A hundred strokes of the brush each side, as was proper. Of course, my faulty hands failed me, the brush eventually getting a bit too close to Bellamy's face. His lightning fast reflexes stopped my hand, reminding me to be careful. It lasted for but a second, yet I felt an eternity away from my hero for this second, enough for me to frown in sadness and disappointment. Disappointment in myself. Disappointment in my abilities. Were I more powerful... Perhaps... My thoughts were swiftly interrupted by the insightful Bellamy, whose heroic gaze always pierced through my thoughts with astounding ease; in fact, he was not even staring at me, the Dream-maker's sight must have peered through eternity long enough to see me. "Go on." He said... "Things happen and sometimes we can't change them. Only work to change ourselves." Alas, the heroic words were too much for my fragile psyche and weak will, leading my eyes to be filled with tears of disgrace. In his infinite generosity, kindness and forgiveness, Bellamy placed his hand on my own and held it tightly, at least enough so for me to drain some of his greatness. I remember that moment vividly, daily, ever since it happened. "I couldn't do this without you, Noct." His words rang true, giving me hope. I was in darkness, safe, with my good friend, chasing our dream together. This is all that mattered. I smiled through despair, my task no longer as daunting. The rest of the evening was spent in silence. As the Dream-maker was about to sleep and enter the world of dreams from whence he came, I couldn't help but stare with my unworthy eyes upon his strong frame, reminding me of his hard work, work that bore fruit, labour that was compensated to its fullest. Everything Bellamy had achieved was through hard work and great effort, sometimes at the expense of his own safety. Was I once the same? Was Noct a hero before? Was perhaps Noct once someone who worked hard enough to attain all he has? Or... Is Noct one who was given what he has, wasting his talents away? One ungrateful being, who has all the power he needs to change the world, yet he refuses to do so? Was my dream so weak? Is it still too weak? I know not. I only hope... I hope Noct is not too weak Only of evil does he reek I hope my hero knows what to seek Only of good does he speak I hope he never leaves his last breath I hope he never has... *A Brush With Death*
Manners of Beast
Cover your head. Overhead swing. Bash. Don't use your offhand. Sidestep to the right. Bash. Left swing to right swing follow-up. Overhead feint into bash. Uppercut. Don't use your offhand. Don't use your offhand. Don't use your offhand... This phrase repeats itself in my head, as if I have to remind my body, a shameful beast, to stop trying to wield the flail with both hands. My right hand constantly seeks out a handle longer than the one I have, shield left to hang on my forearm as it claws its way towards my weapon. Every step, every swing, every parry, my body throws itself in it, in what I recognize to be true desperation and determination combined. I can recite the entirety of combat manuals from memory, yet my body refuses to acknowledge proper form and technique... Instead it mimics the actions of monsters and beasts that act purely on instinct. A beastial knight... What a strange sight I must have been in my past life. A life that is over, its ways should end with it. I catch my breath and return to training. Shield and flail, attack and defend, crush through and incapacitate. Disable, don't kill. I have to believe. Battle felt natural to me, as much as I wished to drown out the voice, it kept urging me to fight. It spoke to me, a voice most foul, most disgraced, no doubt shunned by all creation and destined to exist in the purgatory of my own failed existence. I am a knight, sidekick of a great hero, a Dream-maker, who will fight in the name of justice and all that is good, to protect the people against corruption and evil. I must believe in this cause. Must believe. Must... My thoughts suddenly went numb, my vision a blur... Was what I bare witness to truth, or merely a trick of the light? I banished it, showing true darkness to this new assailant. I know not where he came from, his form familiar yet foreign, he came at me with murderous intent. Remember your training... Remember the manuals... Remember... His speed was unmatched, his technique flawless, his attacks came from all directions. This was no normal foe but one blessed, by wind of speed, sea of flow, flame of might and earth of toughness. His barely visible visage moved with grace and ferocity, a perfect harmony of light in the dark, shedding no shadows. No manual would teach techniques to fight such a foe. No stance would be advantageous. No strike would find purchase. No, my training is useless, I... Am useless. His attacks pass right through my body, wisps of my very essence being drained away and fading into nothingness each time my form met with his own. I fall. My knees are too weak to support the crushing weight of my body. My arms too heavy to lift my shield and flail. My eyes too scared to meet with his own. A pitiable sight is Noct, a creature of no virtue, of nothing but vice, a weak, disgusting creature... Only one thing does he deserve. One thing alone... I drop my shield. I let go of my flail. I hang my head and await my destruction. My opponent prepares the final strike. A fitting end for Noct... But not for It. My opponent strikes with the piercing rays of the sun, thrusting my chest open entirely, a direct shot through the heart... One thing It lacks. With my control weakened, the voice takes over, right hand shooting up to hold my opponent's stuck in place, pierced through my chest. My left hand shoots for the hilt of my flail, my gaze seeing darkness, our faces meeting each other briefly before it begins... The crack of bone and sinew echoes for miles, breaking the defeaning silence that gave pause to our battle. The flail sung, a hideous choir, words of blasphemous acts translated into pure violence. All knowledge of battle and its conduct is replaced with that of vicious bloodlust. My opponent was hurting, his body momentarily toppled and lay on the ground, my own visage now being the one to tower above us both. As my body bloats with unnatural strength, I beg for the voice to leave my enemy be, yet it is now completely in control of everything I do. My opponent stands again, both combatants preparing for another bout, an epic to be passed down as a legendary tale by bards of every corner of this world and the next. This standoff is graced by the presence of a deep sea, one who's bottom is imperceptible, unknown and incomprehensible. That phrase, a sentence that always claws at the depths of my mind, returns to the surface, loudly proclaiming its malevolent intent again and again. "I will kill your shining light." In what seemed to be a fraction of a moment's shard, I am able to see, deep into the depths of my dark core. The images make little sense, yet maybe... If I can put them in the right order. My past... This is my past! What was words of cursing became cheers of support, my turn to urge the voice to assume direct control of my body and continue the battle. I am certain, this battle, this fight, is what triggers the images, what grants me insight! If it continues, I will certainly remember! I will certainly... I stop, frozen solid, as a voice calls to me, speaking my name repeatedly. Dream-maker... His words were like a ram that broke through my gated defenses, entering the castle of my conscience and dragging me out to the world. Before I could react, the battlefield had retreated from my vision, my eyes seeing an empty field of mostly sand and some paltry greenery, as well as my heroic friend, his faceplate about to dig itself inside his head, its metal twisted from the worry and muscles of his iron cheeks beyond all recognition. With my surroundings now in check, I felt a sharp pain in my left hand, the ball of my flail pierced into my palm as I held a tight grip around it. A tree trunk, broken, holes across its wooden cadaver, stood before me where my previous opponent was. Was this a dark truth I was reliving... Or merely a trick? Another lie of the ever lying light? Bellamy's heroic gaze pierced right through my practices, his analytical mind too complex for any simple man to ever truly understand, he analyzed the situation in but a single second, most likely replaying the entire battle and all of its limitless possibilities inside his head, an unlimited amount of combat potential lay bare deep in his virtuous soul. Regardless, he humbled himself as a true hero would, and with words my pathetic ears fail to truly understand, I managed to make out the following words. "Brutal. I never thought you could use a flail's head to punch people with it. Could do without the palm stabbing thing though. Think you can show me how to do it?" I rushed over to the Dream-maker, the most pure of hearts, one that weighs heavily upon its heroic host, thinking carefully how to explain myself. With my meager talents before this most powerful knight, I swiftly came up with an excuse, something the wretched creatures that resemble one such as I are masters of. I looked up at Bellamy, smiling due to his presence alone, and gave him the answer that befitted a hero of his caliber. "My dearest friend, maker of dreams, hero of man... My techniques are meager and false. Please do not attempt to replicate them. These are not the manners of a knight." These are not the manners of a knight. These befit not a hero's fist. These are naught but the howl of the night. These are just... *The manners of Beast.*
"I like the sea." These words came out of my mouth absentmindedly, instantaneously, as if it was the correct words to speak at any given time when questioned about it. The Dream-maker, ever the faceplate shaper, shot at me a curious glance, his hands taking a loose grip on his halberd as we kept walking towards our curious destination, one I was barely aware of as often happened to be the case. My beaming smile turned to a solemn one, the moment the following words left Bellamy's mouth... "We are going to Madras, in the Pal'tanir." The name sounded familiar... Yet, it was both sadness and happiness that flooded my mind as this word, this place, reached my ears. I find myself questioning what my former life was like, being able to feel both sadness and happiness by the mention of a single word. Both pain and sorrow, yet gleeful expectation urged me to seek answers in the homeland of my good friend's father. My emotions betrayed by my silence, Bellamy asked with a furrowing plated brow "You alright there Noct?" to which I replied with a short hanging silence, as was befitting of the scene, of course. "Hm? No, just... Something I think I remembered." A claim I've made before, yet one I have always had trouble backing up. With that small possibility of a message from my past awaiting me there, I awaited the day of our departure towards the deserts of the Pal'tanir. The day eventually arrived, a simple yet proud boat at a port like any other, its wooden hull weathered storms most angry and waters most powerful, an auspicious day that marked a new beginning, a new grand quest! The water was cool to the touch, much like my skin as Bellamy mentioned, something I had come to believe was the opposite; that everyone else was simply too warm instead. Seeing the unknown reflection of my own person staring back at me from the waters' own surface, I let my mind wonder below what my eyes could perceive, below what most saw and into the deeper parts of the water we had chosen to set sail on, of the water we had chosen to lay our fates on. My mind sealed itself away from the others, their voices becoming a blur, joining the sounds of nature that many can hear but most ignore. There was something there, something cold... Dark... A gentle place, a place that drew me to reach out to it. Visions of safety in the deep darkness of the sea's bottom enveloped my soul, my heart lay silent as I briefly crossed over to the depths of mortality's end... Then darkness settled in, my hand reached out for to this secret haven, my selfish wish bid the world of light farewell. It was not yet time. "Noct!" The hero's voice, violently crushing through all that had enthralled my mind with the unrivalled might of heroism, echoed throughout the boat and attracted the attention of everyone present, his mighty grasp holding me firm, saving me from a watery grave. In my desire to touch this darkness, I found myself nearly falling inside the waters below and forever losing myself to them. My own hand shifted, changing direction, catching my hat which flew off with what seemed to be a will of its own, attempting to enter the darkness I was kept from. With a masterful flourish, I returned it to its rightful position atop my head. I was pulled back by my saviour, the one and only Dream-maker, who examined me with worry painted across the expression of his faceplate, asking me multiple times if I was alright. With a nod, I was escorted to our cabin to rest awhile. While I enjoyed the experience, everyone present seemed woefully concerned about me, making me wonder how they feel naught for their fellow men and women, bearing witness to them toiling under the scorching rays of sunlight. The rest of the trip saw me avoid the water's surface, lest I attempt to touch the darkness once more. Hours became days, my cabin a cage, yet salvation came alongside damnation. I walked out of our cabin, standing side by side with the Dream-maker, taking in all the details of this new, yet familiar, land. Without a moment's notice, a sharp pain, a burning knife of steel, an accursed radiance coming straight from the unforgiving sun, struck a memory inside my mind. With my hands nearly smashing my skull as they slammed on its sides, I squeezed tightly, both grip and eyes, nothing able to reach me any longer. I know not how long this lasted, yet I was certain about one thing. It rang true in my head, my heart, my soul. Here there was sun. Here there was sun. Here there was sun. Pain, agony, searing horror. The voice in my head screamed, constantly repeating the same sentence. "I WILL KILL YOUR SHINING LIGHTS! I WILL KILL YOUR SHINING LIGHTS! I WILL KILL YOUR SHINING LIGHTS!" It all went through me, swiftly eating away the shadows of my soul. I tried to make it stop but I was helpless, my lies were brought to the world. As the light always does, notifies the lies to come forth, as they hid within the darkness of my soul. And the voice let forth the one true feeling I didn't want him to see... Not simple pain. Not simple sadness. Not simple agony. Not simple madness. Now he sees it, please let me back into the coldness. Now he feels it, please let me back into the darkness. Now he dreams it, please don't let him sink inside me, for I am... *Despair*
The flowers were beautiful. It was a fact that immediately became apparent to me, standing on this rock that overlooked what seemed like the world's bounty of land before us. Bellamy was absorbed entirely in the reading of his map, as a child in a story of heroism, lost somewhere between reality and fantasy. No doubt, his visions of heroic quests to come kept his mind wandering the cosmos, absentmindedly deciding the course of fate. All this was visible, especially on his faceplate, the eye sockets ever so slightly shifting to assume the shape of a smiling man's eyes. My mind was still enthralled by this strange duo of flowers, purple and white heath, isolated by the rock face if this piece of paradise. In my mind, Tymbren had always been a land blessed, its inhabitants kind, thus I always compared my experiences to what I came to call home for a short time. With our journey grounded to a halt, our aloof thoughts were once more brought to focus by the voice of a travelling mistress. "Hello? Warriors, please, I need your help." Said the mistress as she approached us from behind, her voice filled with concern and determination both, her form that of a woman of quite comfortable wealth. A human most... Humane. As if an artist abruptly finished his painting, a new one being hastily painted over it, my expression shifted to match that of the Dream-maker, or at least attempted to, as my facial muscles lack any strength or virtue compared to his. We approached the mistress ourselves, now two parties meeting in the middle. "Ho, young lady. What troubles you?" Is what Bellamy said. Hear not the tales spoken of his manner of speech, for it is certainly most heroic indeed. I quietly traced the Dream-maker, awaiting the answer of the mistress. "My good men, I am named Garnet. I live in a small estate down the valley here, towards the south. I have come upon a treatment for my ailing father, yet I was attacked by wild animals on the way home. My horse fell and my guards were eaten alive by the beasts, now I have no one left to protect me on my way home. Would you be so kind as to escort me? I will pay you handsomely once we are safely returned." A quest! One most honourable and on such an auspicious day! No wonder the tale of Bellamy, the hero of humanity, would grow most glorious through this act of greatness! Bellamy looked at me, concern in his eyes, a silent conversation of mind and soul taking place between. What would have taken millenia, was resolved in a few seconds and with a simple nod, my answer clear to my companion. With what must have been the grace of a deity most brave, a star shining brightly and blinding the rest with the radiance of its valour no doubt, Bellamy spoke his answer! "Uhm. Okay. We'll take you home." WHAT A HERO! my thoughts stunned briefly from the magnificence of his words, I smiled and proudly prepared to defend this mistress with my life! The trek was... Uninteresting, to say the least. Whatever beasts had attacked the lady before never showed to continue their hunt, nor did we take more than a few hours to reach our destination. And the estate was... Little more than a farm house. With suspicions of soon-to-come treason entering our minds, Bellamy and I exchanged a knowing stare, preparing to defend not the mistress, but ourselves, if need be. Before we were able to enter the farmhouse, the mistress fell to her knees, tears flooding her face with the might of the greatest of storms, her voice cracking and revealing the truth. "Forgive me heroes! I am no wealthy woman, nor am I an owner of an estate. I am but a humble farmer, living with my bedridden father in this quiet piece of land. I fell to no ill on my way here, and I have no reward for you. Please, the only thing I wish is to see my father recover!" With her mind receding to a childlike state, the mistress cried, already mourning the passing of her still living father. With a sigh that could shake the foundations of the little farmhouse, had it not been for his dense faceplate, Bellamy headed for the interior of the farmhouse before he was stopped by the mistress who, in a sudden burst of reason, warned him. "I-I know not what ails him, nor if it is contagious! Be careful heroes!" With these words in mind, I had to step in and take over. "Dream-maker." My tone serious and full of insight. "Let me see what the problem is." Bellamy was, understandably, worried for my health. He placed his steely hands on my shoulders, his iron grip giving me nightmares for the years to come. "If you feel like it is beyond you, then come out. Don't do anything too risky." His voice echoed inside my head as I gave him a reassuring nod, before leaving this act of the story and entering the next. It was somewhat difficult to explain... I do not know what being ill feels like. I can compare it to fatigue through what I have been told, but I have not experienced it, at least, not that I remember. Stepping into the farmhouse, the smell was rancid, the famished form of an old man lay before me on a small bed. My steps brought me closer to him, my knees touched the floor below, his pain-filled voice barely traveling through the air and reaching me. "Garnet... Is that you?" I was given pause. It had never occurred to me before... But this man was slowly dying before me. No, no it was not the illness plaguing him. It was the curse of flesh bestowed upon all mortals. He was ever so slowly decaying, rotting alive before my very eyes. Becoming aware of this fact reminded me of the depths of the world, a brief memory of a primal fear I had long since forgotten. This will, one day, be me. This will, one day, be Bellamy. This will, one day, be everything. It must not be this way. I matched the gray colored scene of fear and death with a grim tone, my words slow and clear, my intentions laid bare before the old, dying man. "I can give you health. I can give you chance. I can give you time. Most importantly, I give you choice." A long pause followed. What came after shocked me back to my feet, a voice full of heroic determination to match the heavens. "You can give me health but not life. You can give me chance but not fight. You can give me time but no future. You can give me choice... So give me death." I walked outside, breathing heavily, still shaken by the moment I bore witness to. A man with a spirit so powerful, he would deny everything to have his own way. I had always aspired to be like this, someone to deny everything and everyone if it meant being true to myself. The worried voice of my friend and sobbing of the mistress brought me back to my senses. I weighed my options, the possible outcomes, the burden of sin... "I am afraid it's too late, mistress. Your father has embraced death and awaits the endless, dreamless sleep." The agony of the mistress made itself known to the cosmos through her screams. Her hands grasped at my cloak, her knees bruised on the ground, her face filled with desperation. Despite it all, I resumed reciting what had transpired. "Your father asked me to reveal to you the location of a small stash of silver he kept under his bed. I wish I could have done more. I am sorry." My final words towards the mistress before I departed. I know not what Bellamy said to her before he followed. On the way back to our rock, the one overlooking paradise, I observed more of the flowers from before. Purple and White Heath. What a horrible, ugly sight. Bellamy stared at me, his eyes piercing through my chest and into my sinful heart. "You lost a belt pouch. Didn't it have some-... Oh." yes, Bellamy. This man had no hidden stash until I made one up. I lied, I made myself a sinner most depraved to grant this man his wishes for he deserved it, his worth would demand even more yet this was all my depraved self could offer. Such a disgusting creature is Noct, of no virtue or ability. With silence being our companion, my mind wandered to a faint sound, one coming from deep inside me. I chased after it, and to my horror I realized it was laughter. This voice in my head laughed, and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughedand laughed and laughed and laughed... It nearly drove me mad, I think I can still hear it. I know now why it laughs. It knows that is fleeting existence I have created for myself is also fleeting... It is also... *Rotting Alive*
"Please... Help me..." Those were my first words. Words full of deceit and vile, treacherous purpose. The world around me was hot, burning rays of white light blinding me nigh-permanently the moment I opened my eyes. An accursed sphere in the sky, dispelled all shadow below it, all safe haven for mortal man now gone, I lay on the scorching ground in a heap, shattered metal armor resting both atop my body and the surrounding area in smouldering pieces. My weapon was in a condition similar to my own, still there, yet unable to hurt anyone regardless of how much it wanted to. My flesh screamed fire, the blackened chest beneath my torn hirt betrayed signs of a terrible struggle. Overwhelmed by an ocean of emotions, a well of black ash mixed with bile rising inside my heart, I was only able to understand one thing; violence. My words fell upon the ears of the source of this... Thrumming sound, vibrations on the ground following it, as what appeared before me was a giant predator in the form of man. It stared at me for a few seconds before approaching, foolishly casting a shadow upon me, granting me power. I urged it to help me, to come closer... As my hand weakly, yet silently, made for the hilt of my weapon that lay beside me. One clean strike and I will kill it. One clean strike and I will... Everything froze, as if a sudden winter covered the land and everyone in it in a cold, icy blanket. It was the predator before me, pouring liquid snow upon my body, revitalising me. As my eyes focused on its visage, I found out it was no predator at all. No, I was somehow instinctively aware of what a predator looked like, felt like, sounded like, acted like... This was a guardian, a wall given human form. As the man began treating my wounds I finally gave in to the pain and let myself fall into the embrace of my dreams. When next I woke, I remembered only this encounter between me and the guardian, yet we were no longer under the scorching sun or the nightmarish forest. No, this time I found myself in a warm bed, in a shadowed room, my only company being a fresh set of clothes and a lit candle. Bandages covered the full, even if meager, height of my body, concealing wounds and scars alike. I sought out new company, that of a mirror, where I could observe the foreign form that stood before me; myself. Who am I? What am I? Why am I? This mask made of simple white porcelain, teases much of my appearance, yet it conceals just enough to keep my identity hidden from me. In a blind rage, confused and frustrated, I did the only thing that made sense to me at the time. With an injured arm, a bleeding fist, I destroy the mirror before me lest my image walks out of it and takes my place, replacing what I am with what I might become. The destruction garnered the attention of the guardian, who entered the room with worry painted on his face. This worry... It felt such a foreign concept to me, a worry not of his well being but of my own. A worry not for his life but of my own. A worry not of his safety but of my own. I wasted no time, I screamed bloody murder and tried to take him prisoner, while incoherently demanding of him to explain everything to me. My body was battered and broken, and my efforts were futile. He took me prisoner in his strong arms, yet there was not his might holding me in place. It was... Something else. Some unexplainable, alien power, draining my will to crush, kill and destroy him. I felt no magic, no trinket affecting me, no spell empowering him or prohibiting my advance. Confused and defeated, I let my tears soak his shirt as we both stood in silence. I once again fell prey to my dreams soon after, returning to the safety of darkness. When next I awoke, the sounds of a busy household welcomed me. I held no interest in the tiny room I slept in no longer, thus I grit my teeth and walked off the pain, finding myself in a common room of sorts. I was greeted by the gaze of three humans, two of them different, yet one resembling them both. Indeed, the guardian was akin to both of the two different humans, yet his skin was brown much, matching that of the other male figure in the room. The guardian stood tall, a gentle smile and messy black hair befitting the innocence of a child rather than a large man. He slowly approached me, his presence making me feel safe to be in this new world, this new... Life. I had many questions, yet no answers for either me nor the guardian. The two other figures, revealed to be the guardian's parents, were a simple elderly couple, who betrayed no feelings of evil towards my presence, rather they were confused as to my... Everything. "Good morning. You look much better." Said the guardian as he stood before me, looking down at me from his great height. "Come, mom's made breakfast." He said, taking my hand and leading me to the table, plates full of fruit and bread, milk and eggs awaiting to be our meal. I was very, very hungry. In fact, I was so hungry I felt like a giant, wolf-like humanoid was pounding at the walls of my stomach, demanding I feed it lest it devours everything, and everyone, around me. As we quietly sat down around the table, the guardian looked at me and asked the most dreaded of questions after introducing himself. "I'm Bellamy. What's your name?" I remained still, straining my mind to give me an answer... Yet everything was covered in a bright, burning light. As I began losing myself to a trance of my own creation, I uttered the only thing I was able to muster as an answer. "I... Don't know." Bellamy didn't press the issue. He simply smiled and said "Maybe something to remember later on. Let's enjoy breakfast for now, yeah?", then took a bite out of some bread and took a sip of milk from a mug on the table. This artificial peace lasted for a few minutes, the quiet dispelled by the opening of the door leading outside the house. A woman's voice followed, a bored, fatigued tone, betraying the want to vacate the area as fast as possible. When she stepped into my vision, I was surprised to see she looked much like Bellamy... She was surprised to see me, though apparently not in the same way I was. "Who's that?" She said as Bellamy moved a chair next to him so she could join the rest of us. "We're figuring that out." His words barely finished, the woman grabbed something from inside a cupboard and made for the exit. "I'll be out." She exclaimed swiftly, leaving before anyone could even reply. "Where are you-" there was no reason to finish that sentence, Bellamy sighed and returned to his breakfast. My presence had already caused conflict, leading me to stand up with the intent to leave. "Don't mind her, she is just... Different." Bellamy said. It was strange. I felt like I shouldn't be here, but I wanted to stay. I l... Liked being here. I sat back down, I looked at the people sharing this table with me, my mouth opened and my voice followed. "Thank you.", the only words that made sense to me at the moment, filled with every ounce of gratitude I could find inside my heart. Bellamy laughed and shook his head, as he brought some of the fruit on the table closer to me so I could reach the plate with my own, much shorter hands. "You're welcome." We continued our breakfast in peace. Once done, Bellamy stood up, walked over to a counter by the door and picked up his tabard, a sword and full-faced metal helmet. Putting on his gear felt very natural to him and it showed; it seems he was accustomed to combat, at least enough to put on armor quickly. As he turned to face me and his parents one last time before he left to begin his daily guard routine, he waved goodbye, prompting everyone to do the same, even me. "The room is yours until you feel better. Then, we can decide how to figure out who you are." His words remained in my ears for a moment as he smiled, his lips hidden behind his faceplate, yet with enough force to distort it ever so little with his facial expression. A face as strong as this must only ever appear one every thousand years, making me question if he was just a simple human. If that was not enough, his words made me feel at ease. "We..." He didn't leave it up to me. He didn't leave it up to his parents. It was as though he was speaking for everyone, as if we were all part of the same being, something to do together for the benefit of all of us, even if it affects only one of us. I swiftly retreated to the room I woke up in, looking for clues. What was this feeling... This sense of calm? Of want to stay and not wander? What was the source of this sensation? From the few books I managed to appropriate inside this tiny room of mine, I managed to single out some words that seemed to resemble this feeling of mine. This feeling that suppressed my urge to crush, kill and destroy. I focused on them, driving away the madness that was trying to force its way inside my mind. Love. Care. Family. *Affection*
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... *Unstoppable.*
Divine Soft-Rock Paste
I remember it as if it was still in my grasp, the floury taste of bread lingering in my mouth even as I write this. It was a cold day, a morning sun covered by rainy clouds that warned of a storm brewing in the horizon. I was having breakfast alone, pondering deeply of the horrible past that may or may not yet affect my debatable future well-being. The dry bread that I found made for pour sustenance, my stomach thrumming as if the lords of thunder were summoning their own storm inside it. "Foul, accursed floury disc!" I yelled with passion, nigh calling upon a great inferno that burned with the fury of a thousand suns due to sheer rage!... And the lit candle I knocked off the table. Killing the ember swiftly, I knelt down, observing quietly a compartment built below the furniture Bellamy called a "cupboard". I knew that a hidden stash most brilliant lay there, yet, dare I touch it! "I am sorry dream-maker, but my hunger knows only hate for this one!" I proclaimed as I placed my hand upon the forbidden handle and forced it open with whatever might hunger had not consumed was left in me! Then... There it was... A small jar, filled to the brim with a strange, brown-colored paste. What was it? Some kind of healing ointment? A skin care product? Liquid sand? I had to find out. With a hard heart and a strong mind, I took the jar in my hands and pried open the lid. The smell of something edible crept into my nostrils, as I continued my hypothesis on what this strange concoction's purpose truly was. Shyly I chose to sacrifice a single index finger to a possible man-eating sand-sea beast, most likely kept trapped for generations by heroes of old. As I pushed into it, I decisively pulled away, the violent paste now smothering my hand! I had no choice but to devour it before it devoured me first!... Then, a pause. The whole world began spinning, an explosion of every possible timeline, every possible past, present and future, pouring sweet anodyne inside my mouth. I became divine for but a second, unraveling the complex weave of the world and ascending. Then I chewed, a rocky formation, somehow soft and hearty, made a resounding crunching sound that must have penetrated the world's veil and reached into the beyond. My confusion was peaked as this simple paste, a taste that words can do no justice, was capable of all this and more, more than this paltry writer can ever put into writing. The door suddenly opened, my senses returning to the mortal realm from whence I came. Bellamy walked inside and stared at me, no doubt lost in the same trance I was by merely observing this Divine Soft-Rock Paste. I struggled to stand, yet stand I did, my legs swiftly carried me before my substantially taller friend. I tried for a few seconds to give him something to understand, some speech of divine inspiration, yet like a bubbling fool I stumbled with my words and looked to be a tool. Bellamy spoke behind his helmet, his voice reaching my now mortal ears. "Noct," he said "why are you on the floor?" I told him everything. All of the things I experienced with a simple dip of my finger inside this cosmic substance. I firmly grasped his forearms and looked at him with as serious a face as any man, woman or whatever I am could muster and said "Bellamy! This forbidden delicacy! None must ever know where or how it was procured lest the world end!" His eyes traces the mess on the ground, finally settling upon the jar of Divine Soft-Rock Paste laying behind me. With the most defeated of expressions, one powerful enough to slightly distort his faceplate with the strength of his facial muscles alone, he spoke the following to me: "Noct." My smiled brightened as he ended his brief speech with: "It's just... Peanut butter."
Retracing the Road of Dreams part 1
These strange dreams, these nightmares, have slowly been making more sense as of late. I find myself sometimes able to follow them back, back towards a life I once lived. Everything and everyone I see in these dreams are foreign to me, a cast of actors playing their part to the letter, yet they seem familiar in a way. Last night I once again had this violent dream, I was screaming bloody murder at someone, clawing at the dark covered landscape before me. This person who was, for some reason, trying to hurt me, also felt strangely familiar, as if we had once met but forgot how or when. I am unsure if I was the one to attack first, yet I was the one to go down first. A fierce battle, ended in a terrible blow, nearly shattering my entire body. Questions flood my mind as I try to make sense of what was going on. Why was I there? Who was the man? What lead to this conflict? Was I trying to stop an evil being... Or was he trying to stop me?