Waking up with a headache was not something I was used to. Even after a whole night of drinking I would wake up happy as ever. This was actually the first time since very early childhood that my head was screaming at me. When I killed two hundred slavers my body ached, my brain boiled and didn’t want to think, but it didn’t ache. Now there was a dull headache, bearable but annoying. And no aspirin anywhere within the realm.
As I look around, I see myself in a dungeon, no windows and only one entrance with metal bars. My hands are bound by some metal. It shines unnaturally in dimly lit dungeon, so I can only assume it is mithril. The other ends of the shackles are connected to two massive slabs of black metal on each side of me, near the walls. I try to nudge one by pulling on the chain, but it doesn’t move at all. They must be extremely heavy.
I try to stand up, only to realize I am severely weakened. I haven’t felt like this in… Ever. I mean I was half-dead, I was small, I was weaker than somebody, but I was never weak. Even just beside the death’s door I felt my strength. Now I felt like I wanted to slump over and sleep.
I try to determine why I am so weak. It can’t be poison, my ability helps me ignore most poisons, any that would affect me would be potent enough to kill me outright. It could be potion of some sort, but once again I only need to actively set my inner working to neutralize it. Scanning my body I feel no foreign agents. So it is not something inside my body.
Looking over my body, I notice myself being naked. I also noticed myself covered in my own blood, darker than usual with a slight glint of orange if you look at it at the right angle. The blood covering me is mostly dry, but there is plenty of it on the floor. The trail goes as high up as my throat. Did they… Did they cut my throat and let my blood pour onto the floor? What a waste, Nrogara could have made so many potions.
I try to stand up again with my new weakness in mind. I can only go a little higher than crouching, chains are too short to let me stand. I can only sit, with my arms spread wide to the sides. Nothing can be done about this.
Having studied my surroundings I try to use my power. It is hard to do, my weakened state limiting my power. When I begin transforming, my wrists hurt like hell. The shackles are too tight. They won’t break through the transformation, so my flesh is squeezed against mithril with great force, crushing my skin and muscles. It is a bad feeling.
Well nothing I can do about this either. Hoping to get somebody’s attention I shout and listen. I listen hard, very hard. It seems there is nobody out there. I sit with my legs crossed and try to meditate, but I immediately feel resistance. Something I haven’t felt since I was little. Damn, so many things I haven’t felt in a long time and none of them pleasant.
I am in turmoil. Thinking about it, I really am. I was betrayed, again. Before I just tried to ignore it, submerging myself in training, not letting myself think. But now… now it’s impossible to ignore.
I am stuck in some stink-hole, nobody anywhere near me. Three of my beloved girls betrayed me, they chained me and bled me dry. I wouldn’t have thought they would do it. What we shared, it was beautiful and magnificent. Firstly Elaya and then the others opened up to me and we shared our time and our joys with one another. I was sure it was all real and true. But…
Now I wonder. Did Eleanor ever get over her hatred for me? May be she just pretended, forced by her mother or by the tradition or whatnot. She may have not had a choice in the matter. I mean, she said back then that she wanted a powerful ally. Was it all I was for her? Just an asset, which now outlived its usefulness?
And the others? Leah and Lilith said that they didn’t want to lose me to a rival. Was that it? Was I just some prize for either of them? A trophy? I didn’t think that getting to me was a conquest for them. But was I ever anything more? I thought our feelings were sincere. My love for each of them was true. I was ready to give up my life for them, but this? Getting betrayed is not something I envisioned. I would never betray them…
And is it the same with others? I mean Aedim, Meriden and Elaya all act loyal and show me their affection… But is it real or is it the same as with the other three? Is it our bond that makes them act that way? Would Eleanor betray me if we had completed the rite? Would others be so inclined to listen to me if we haven’t gone through with it? Was it the right thing? Maybe if I refused them all the way back then it would be different…
The doubts are killing me. I don’t know what is right anymore. I am sure Elaya loved me sincerely. She had to… Why would she spend her time with me otherwise? She clearly enjoyed our time together. I can’t doubt my sweet little Elaya. She is the one who has been with me the longest, she confined and me and I in her. We were together since we were little, surely it wasn’t anything but love…
But what about Meriden. She sought strength and I could offer it to her. Did she choose me so that she could follow the path of the warrior? She is strong-willed but she wouldn’t lie to get whatever she wanted. She has honor like all warriors, she wouldn’t forfeit it for anything. She didn’t have to become one with me to receive what I had to offer… I can’t doubt her, not now after what we went through together. She is just like Elaya, she loves and treasures my company.
And Aedim? I don’t think she would betray me either. She showed respect and admiration for me, even before we made a choice to be as one. She liked talking to me, her interest was real. We shared our worries and our ideas. We shared our limited wisdom, ensuring one another of our intelligence. The adults might have not seen us as such, but we were smart for our age. It don’t believe that she would decide to be bonded with me just for the interest and vanity of being around me.
But others… They are different. Eleanor is proud, she used to want power. Leah is cunning, she has more to gain right now by betraying me. Lilith is… I don’t know what to say about her right now. She is supposed to be a spawn of satan in a sense, but she was anything but. She seemed to care and she tried to do her best. I am sure she was faithful, even though I saw how she wanted more than just simple touch. She enjoyed my company, my touch, my smell. She enjoy me thoroughly. But maybe she found something else to enjoy…
This is confusing. I am lost in thought, I have no idea what is going on. Could some of the girls really betray me? The three girls that have yet to bond with me betrayed me and the others. The three girls that are bonded to me already are suffering because of me. I failed them. I failed them all. Maybe if I would have done something more it would be different. But now it’s too late too wonder.
As I am thinking about all of those things and more, I don’t realize that I am crying. Tears are rolling down my face and I don’t feel them. I don’t feel much of anything. I feel numb, in my body and in my mind. The numbness comes from blood loss, from the discomfort and from the cold. But my mind is numb because of the overwhelming emotions of anger and betrayal. They cloud my thoughts, shroud my inner self in darkness. I can’t see through any of it now that I unleashed it upon myself. It’s hard to concentrate.
And my chest hurts. It’s so strong it’s almost physical. The pain spreads throughout my body, but it can’t be stopped by medicine. My soul aches as the emotions try to tear it apart. Such a pitiful state for a boy who was surrounded by joy and happiness, only for it to turn into bitter hatred for oneself. It was all his fault. He wasn’t good enough.
The emotions are too much to handle for a kid, who wished for nothing but to protect himself and his loved ones. Who would have thought it were his loved one he needed protection from?
I am too confused by all that’s happened. Whom can I trust and who truly loves me and who just wanted to get something from me? Even my people, who were willing to go to war for something I did, betrayed me and hid me away somewhere. Are the girls going to be like that too. Will Elaya eventually turn away from me…
With such thoughts I weep and turn delirious. My mind was not ready to handle such grief. I can’t be angry at the girls, they did their best… I loved them, I can’t that let love turn into hatred. But I can hate the king. The filthy scum. In my delusions I scream at him and fight him. I kill him many times for taking everything from me. I also shout for the stupid person who orchestrated the events in this world, words of anger and hatred come out. I try to pour everything I have into those cries toward the heaven. And I can hate myself. I shout of how weak and pathetic I am, of how I failed those around me…
At some point my transformation kicks in, I flail around wildly, trying to break free, trying to turn and rampage. My wrists send hellish pain through my being, unable to break the restrains. I try to endure it in my insanity, but soon I loose consciousness, plundering towards the darkness that surrounds my heart at the moment.
There I see visions. Some are undecipherable, just visions my mind creates to accommodate the feelings I have. Others are some fragments of my previous lives, moments when I did horrendous acts because of torment in my heart. Then there were all those people who hurt me and how I hurt them back tenfold.
Through all that, I see a vision of a man, surrounded by a brilliant aura, his hair red and purple so are his eyes. He looks at me and sighs. He speaks of disappointment, how I broke so easily and how I shouldn’t have given into despair. He calls me pathetic and weak. The supreme ruler of the realm is displeased, his game turning out different from what he expected, because one of the pieces was chosen wrongly.
I see a vision of myself, confined and restrained. Seeing myself from the side, crying about how the world is unfair really is pathetic. I don’t pity myself, seeing how weak I truly am. Take away my ’toys’ and I crumble under the pressure. Was I nothing without the girls? Was I this small and powerless? Would I achieve anything if not for them? That’s not right. In countless lifetimes I became great, I lead the the world’s the prosperity and I plunged them into chaos. I didn’t need some weak little girls to carry me forward. I was fine alone. With that I shout precisely those words for everyone to hear.
My emotions apparent and out in the open, they slowly loose their hold on me. I slip out of the hurtful tendrils surrounding my soul and begin to regain some senses, but I am just too tired to carry on right now. Exhausted I don’t bother thinking any longer and loose myself in restless sleep. Still very hurt, but no longer tormented I manage to get some sleep.
There was mostly emptiness. I floated in nothingness, having dream-less sleep and letting my inner torment settle.
At some points dreams appeared. I saw Elaya and Meriden. They were talking and laughing. It was a memory I had of us spending time together, very pure and happy. Then more memories surfaced of different girls. They were happy and they felt joy of being with me. Even the trio that betrayed us, they too were enjoying their time with me. I couldn’t understand their action and their reasons, but I could remember that they were honestly happy to be around me. Their smiles were sincere and pure, showing them excited and enlightened. How could I ever forget that? Seeing those images I feel at peace. Even if something changed now, back then we were always together as one, sharing our joys and hardships. Together we were stronger.
With that I feel at peace, no longer haunted by nightmares, just memories of our happy past. The girls were always by my side, they supported me and I them. We always did our best for the Val tribes, perhaps now this is something they have to do. My duty is to the Val people, even if it means to give my life for the cause. If that is what needed of me, then it is what I will do. With those thoughts barely registering in my brain, I fall into the peaceful rest.
New dreams are pleasant. They show me the future with the girls. Our house which we built with the Bloodborn, now full of life. I also see happy faces, of all the people I must protect. Perhaps I will have a chance to see them sometime soon.
I also see a dream, myself, on the ground, weak and powerless, somebody hugging me and trying to hold me close. That person has her face very close to mine, hair streaming down and covering us, hiding from the world. Her hand is touching my cheek, stroking it gently. Her lips move slowly, mouthing words of apology and regret. The person seems very sad, sometimes trembling and sobbing. I try to comfort that person, reaching my hand towards her face, but she just cries more. I stay a little longer and drift off again. For a while I would sleep, not feeling or noticing anything.