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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, '11, 11:55 pm
Chapter 3

Blackness was a universal constant that one could simply not ignore. Everywhere my eyes stopped, this utter obscurity surrounded me, wrapped me through its mist.

The blackness was constant, but it was not completely unchallenged. In its absolute, it tolerated the audacity of light. Speckles of pure white, traces of shimmering dust that travelled the empty void with me.

I was not alone, I was never truly alone. I asked the light, "Who are you? Why are you here with me?", but the light remained silent. I turned my eyes to my inner self and I tried to decide why the light would not answer me, why it would remain silent in my direst need for comfort.

The light was afraid, but it is not the blackness it feared, for they existed together peacefully. As my mind wandered further inside, I found myself filled with a doubt that ate away at my soul. Could it somehow be afraid of me? What was it in a simple man that should inspire this silent dread in something so pure and mighty?

Once again, my eyes looked to the outside, to the light once more.

The light was gone. All that remained was blackness, deeper and more tenebrous than the darkest thoughts of a lost mind.

The blackness hungered for my soul, it would soon take me, it would swallow me and I would vanish forever, never to see the light again.

Once more, this eternal shadow was challenged. Another light, not pure, not white; but a crimson shard of radiant beauty stood between me and the blackness that would soon take me.

I was entranced by this new light, its glorious warmth, its passion to vanquish this utter solitude and bring hope not just to myself but to the whole universe.

I cherished it deeply. I wanted to be lost in it and forevermore be warmed by its heat.

But from the utter blackness, a hand emerged; a dark, dry fist of the deepest iron, the coldest steel. I wanted to warn the light but I could not for the blackness drowned my voice in its eternity. I wanted to save the light, but I was paralyzed as the hand struck nameless fear throughout my being.

The hand seized the light and crushed it.

The light did not show fear as it flickered and faded.

Soon the light was gone, and I was once again alone, only the blackness remained.

It no longer hungered for me as it had swallowed the light in my stead.

I was alone.

I was forever, truly alone.

I suddenly woke up, sweating, shivering somewhat. My breathing was short and I was obviously anxious, but I allowed tranquility to fill me again, gradually. It took me a few long seconds to get my bearings straight. From the looks of it, I was… incarcerated. As my eyes grew accustomed to the dim light about me, I surveyed the stone walls that enclosed the room I was in as well as the steel bars that disallowed me my freedom. If this was a dungeon, it was however very well kept. There was no unpleasant smell and the floor was rather clean, considering the purpose of this room. A quick glance certified me that I had been denied any furniture, I found myself lying on the floor quite uncomfortably.

Perhaps it was for the best, for now. Though I could not remember much of my own life prior to these last few days, I was quick to wager that these last few moments at the inn would not been those I would wish to be remembered by. A brief moment of rest was in order. These unfortunate events would eventually settle down and I would be allowed to explain my actions. No doubt would the innkeeper vouch for me or at the very least confirm my words.

Speaking of dubious last moments, I checked my wounds. By all accounts, that dagger stab should have been the end of me. I wore the same clothes as before, bloodied, torn and ragged from the fight but I was pleasantly surprised to see how my wounds had been cleanly dressed. The bandages were of considerable quality too. I had been right in coming here; it looked like the people of this nation treated their guests adequately, independently of their coming and nature.

I pondered these thoughts a while still as my eyes kept getting used to my new environment. My shoulders instinctively jerked backwards, ever so slightly, as the realization that I was not here alone startled me.

On the other side of the cell gate was a young woman, sitting in the opened hall, her back to the wall. She was hugging her knees, compressed in this little corner of hers, as if she was trying to disappear from this reality. Her eyes were set on my person, she was silently observing me.

I took a few seconds to evaluate her as well. A fair approximation put her in her somewhere in her mid-twenties. To say that she was lovely was a gross understatement. Her skin was rather pale, but not unhealthily so. It was as if she simply did not enjoy the sun. Her head was crowned with a flowing mane that reminded me of silky summer wheat, glimmering with a delicious shade of brass. It was hard to guess her stature, considering how tightly she remained nested against the dungeon wall, but I would venture that she was not very tall, most likely not very imposing either. Her forehead was adorned with a small red stone; I could not decide if it was a simple ornament or an integral part of her. It didn't matter; soon my eyes drifted into hers and drowned in their beauty. Her eyes were opened wide, bright and curious. They shimmered of a dark shade of brown which gave them a look of serenity and tenderness.

I looked long and deep into her eyes and it is only through sheer willpower that I found myself able to set my own eyes free. Judging from her attire, she was no simple servant; she wore a long, blood-red velvet robe over which a short black toga climbed over her shoulders to softly fall across her chest.

I wanted to talk to her but words failed me. No matter how diligently I searched, I could not conjure adequate words. A part of me admired her eloquent simplicity and I wanted merely to introduce myself, but how can this be done by one who has lost his own identity? And when I pondered this openness of her, I was struck back by a sense of awe inspired by how incredibly deep her eyes were.

Truly, engaging conversation with this young woman would prove to be no mere simple task!

I finally decided on a choice of words; I could neither explain nor understand what stirred me so, but I was ready for the plunge. I swiftly inhaled and opened my mouth, ready to utter these words to her.

My surprise was great when she spoke first.

"You have been dreaming a nightmare; your distress was great."

Her voice was unlike any I had heard before. It carried the melody of a song, the innocence of a child, the wisdom of a sage and the spirit of the wind.

There was no doubt in my mind, I was entranced.

I opened my mouth again, willing to answer, to confirm what she just said. Had she observed me long enough, it was probably not very hard to guess. Before I could answer her, she spoke again.

"Your breathing has slowed down. When you dreamed, you breathed much faster. At the apex of your nightmare, you reached ninety breaths for every minute."

I was honestly taken aback. This was not at all what I expected, in terms of conversation. To be honest, I did not care; she spoke these words with a candidness that overwhelmed me. I smiled at her, a simple and genuine smile. "It is true; my dreams have been dark and unpleasant."

"Why are you here?"

A simple question, straight to the point. No doubt she knew I was imprisoned because I had broken a law. Perhaps she wanted to know the details. Was such a tale appropriate to this conversation? Her eyes were into mine again and suddenly, I felt like I no longer had any control over the situation. It was no longer mine to decide what was appropriate, the lead was hers. "I was attacked, at the inn. A man and his subordinates, they wanted to take what was mine." Without even thinking it, my left hand moved to my belt. I felt it, the gem was still there, quite safe,

She smiled sweetly. "Why are you here; in this life?"

I could hardly hide my perplexity. This came as a surprise for many reasons, but the one question that was echoing in my head remained clear. Did she know about my loss? Had she guessed?

"I… do not know." I hesitated, no longer ashamed of my words, completely overwhelmed by this situation; there was no point in trying to steer this on a straight road. All I had now was my willingness to follow her lead. "I seem to have lost all that I was; my name, my origins, my memories. I am sorry, I am afraid I have no reason to share with you."

She cocked her head to the left, ever so slightly. She was not smiling anymore; her eyes were now filled with a palpable curiosity. "I don’t think you forgot."

"What… do you mean?" My confused words barely adequate.

"I think you are a newborn; a beginning. There was nothing for you in that other life so you were reborn into this one, here!"

She was smiling again. I could only ponder her words; so absurd yet, filled with such brazen wisdom. I was so deeply concentrated that when I finally heard the echo of someone’s steps coming toward us, the newcomer was practically upon us.

It was a woman; I could not decide if she was old or young. Her traits were frozen in an air of complete serenity. Her stride was assured and her steps were regular; she was statuesque and mighty. Her long crimson hair flowed over her pale shoulders and her cold steel eyes stared forward, never blinking.

"Mistress, I have been looking for you for the last hour. You know you should not be here. Please come with me at once."

Her voice was adequately matched by her stare; cold, purposed but without any sort of emotion. She was the complete opposite of the young woman sitting a few feet away from me.

I looked at her again, her face was now closed. Her eyes were no longer curious; they were as dark as this dungeon. It is as if the life had been suddenly removed from them. I felt a pang of terrible sadness grip my heart.

The young woman stood up without a word and followed the red-haired woman, away from this dungeon where a blooming flower did not belong.

Away from me.
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