In the Beginning …
I run as fast as I can. There is no going back now. They've seen me. They've seen what I have become. I have seen what I have become. Why didn't anyone tell me before? It had to be obvious. I had to have it written, literally right on my forehead. That's what they saw; I could see it in their eyes, the fear and loathing. I sympathize with their feeling.
As I run, I think back to the preceding moments, those terrible, awe-filled moments. I felt I could tear the world asunder if I so chose.
I had gone to the masquerade just as anyone in my unique circumstance would. I, to put it mildly, was a 'companion' to those in need. The needs were many and sweet. I had been a 'companion' to Lady Melandir for several weeks before my unfortunate accident. She, as many of the ladies in her position, was married, but that didn't particularly bother me. Even the fact that her husband, who was the governor of Nexus, was a jealous man, didn't persuade me to look elsewhere for the charms and baubles that came with such a wealthy clientess as Melandir. Alas, had I seen the future and known what was to become of me, I may still have pursued her. What a beauty! What charm!
I think back to the horror plain upon her face and shudder as my feet fly swiftly before me.
And so there I was at the grandest masquerade within hundreds of miles, enchanting all before me. There was not a word that I said without meaning and wit. I swear that I could hear the swoons of women as they fell to the ground, though I could not see them for the press of ladies around me. I used the words as a painter uses his brush or sculptor his chisel. I carved words that had never been spoken in such a way before. The pictures that I painted for those gathered before me were ones that spoke of passion and allure. And as these ladies fell before the swing of my prose, Lady Melandir entered my circle. I believe that the only accoutrement brighter than that insidious symbol on my forehead that night must have been her stunning beauty.
Even now, thinking of that unearthly smirk brings a smile to my own sweat-drenched face.
As she entered the enclave of women, and saw me at their center, I believe I caught a jealous gleam in her stony, emerald eyes. "And what, pray tell, has caused these women to gather and gape at one such as you?" she said in her sultry voice.
"I believe, if I remain unmistaken, that they gape at my large and rather smooth wit," I retorted. I believed myself so clever and the titter of giggles from the surrounding women did nothing to disabuse me of that thought.
"I'm afraid I have yet to see a wit larger than my own and I am but a woman."
"You must have a short memory, for I believe you were quite taken with my wit last night!"
She blushed magnificently and we exchanged but a few more barbs. I had my advantage at that point and I used it to its fullest extent. I suggested, quietly and in her ear that we retire. And so we met after separating briefly in a back chamber in that 100-room mansion that she called home.
I believe that I must have perspired just as much then as I do now, but for much more pleasurable a reason.
As we lay next to one another sweat-slicked and breathing heavily there was a sound from behind the door. I sprang from my prone position and darted for my clothes and a nearby closet. But it was to no avail.
I wish now that I had had a chance to put on, if nothing else, at least boots, for the cobblestones beneath me are hard and uneven.
The door splintered before the makeshift battering ram that a few guards had made out of a vase stand.
"Melandir!" I heard her husband bellow.
I managed to get a leg in my pants before the guards came rushing at me. One of them speared me to the ground. In walked a man like a tiny mountain. Lord Geoff was almost as wide as he was tall and that width was not soft. As the guard laid into me with a gauntleted fist to the face, I began to think that I wasn't going to survive very long. After that sharp reproach, Lord Geoff told them to bring me to my feet.
The night has already begun to cool but this does nothing to the warm anger in my heart from that humiliation.
There I stood, one leg in a pair of pants and unclothed other than that, in front of the city's most powerful man. My eye had already begun to bruise and salt from my sweat began to burn that wound.
"So it's you! I knew there was something about you that didn't sit right." Lord Geoff said with a sneer. "This is what you wanted, Melandir, this sniveling peasant?" His voice was as loud as he was tall. "I've given you everything you wanted. I've raised you up from that gutter you called home to this!" He gestured to the surrounding home. "What does he have that I do not?"
I look back, both figuratively and literally, and wonder at my own lack of judgment.
"Height?" I questioned tentatively.
His face broke into a rage-filled frown and his fist smashed into my stomach. I doubled over and would have fallen to the ground if not for the guards' arms under my own.
"How dare you! I will see you dead!" He erupted.
The guards must have taken that as an order because one drew his sword and advanced toward me and my chaperones. They gripped me tighter and although I struggled, I knew I wouldn't escape their hold.
As his sword arm came back for the lunge, I exclaimed, "Hold! Unhand me, for I am your better!" My voice did not feel like my own. I do not know how to describe it other than that it was loud and commanding.
I skid to a stop as I reach my apartment and see it burning. I begin to sprint to my parents' home.
Much to my surprise, the guards froze. The two companions at my side dropped their arms to their sides and moved back. Lord Geoff sputtered and also backed up a step. I believed at that moment that I must have been wonderful to behold. I realize now they did so out of fear.
I start up the hill that will allow me a vantage point to see the house that I grew up in.
The searing light from both my forehead and from behind me lit the room like a thousand candles. I glanced toward Melandir and I faltered because of the look in those once stony eyes. There were tears in them.
The guards fell back before me, some of them falling over and scrambling away on all fours. Lord Geoff, however, regained his composure and picked up the fallen blade of one of his guards. He lunged at me, the point of the sword directed at my heart.
I don't know, as I think back to that moment, whether those tears were from fear of me or worry for me. As I reach the top of the hill, fear grips my heart once again.
I sidestepped with the speed of the heavens and brought my fist down to hammer at his forearm. Lord Geoff dropped the sword and spun away from me with his leg parallel to the ground with the aim of taking out my feet. I back flipped over his meaty limb and lunged forward to grab his throat.
I see the men at my childhood home, putting it to the torch. They have two people, who can only be my parents, in their possession. I finish the remaining 100 yards or so at a pace much faster than before. My limbs feel light and weightless. I can feel the surge of power once again. Two guards put themselves between me and my parents. Such a foolish mistake.
Just before my hand could reach his windpipe and crush it, Melandir screamed her protest. My concentration was broken. Lord Geoff picked up the sword once again, though with his left this time, and took a swing at me. I dodged clumsily and felt myself against an open window. He again swung at my defenseless midsection and I tried, though not in the way I had hoped, to back up again. I flew through the open, second-story window backwards and head first.
I dart toward the one on the right and as he attempts to draw his sword I press my foot into the pommel. I step up onto it as light as a feather, grasp his head and spin around his body. His neck goes limp in my hands. As I finish my orbit around the first guard, I kick the second with my left foot then spin and kick with my right. He crumples to the ground. I advance on the two that hold my mother and father hostage. With only ten feet or so left I see them look at one another and nod. Their swords come down to rest in the necks of my loved ones killing them instantly.
As I tumbled out the window I managed to grab part of a ledge that was between the two floors. Although I was unable to hang on, I did rotate my body so that at least my feet hit the ground first. Thus began my flight.
I awake moments later with blood on my hands and the guards esophagus' ripped from their necks.
I go to the house next door and kick down the door. I know that there is an old couple that live in this house and that they are at my mercy. I go into their bedroom and see them huddled together with the man holding his wife and trying to comfort her. I look around the room, see his boots and a few of his clothes and grab them. I run back out of their house and into a dreary back alley.
I hastily don the clothing and realize it isn't quite the right size. The old man's smock is smeared with grease and goes down to my knees. His boots are, luckily, almost the right fit but are much worn.
I start to make my way through the city, sticking to the shadows and walking quietly through the streets. I catch a glimpse several times of guards going either towards my parents' home or my own apartment. The city is alive and looking for me. I make my way towards the mansion believing that that will be the last place they would look for me.
As I enter the street that goes by the mansion I see Melandir looking forlorn glancing from right to left, clearly looking for something or someone. I spot a pair of guards patrolling the grounds and wait for them to pass. Once they are out of sight I approach Melandir.
"There you are," she says with a shaky and unsure voice. "I don't understand why, but I feel that you may need this."
With that, she hands me my masquerade mask and I can see the abhorrence, plain in her eyes. I take the mask and silently dash to the darkness once again. The shadows feel like a thick cloak draped across my shoulders. As I make my way out of the city of Nexus with stolen clothes, no family, and a mask, my rage focuses to a single point. That point is revenge.
Lord Geoffrey Gabbados - Governor (or equivalent) of Nexus. Earth Terrestriel
Lady Melandir Gabbados - Lord Geoff's wife
William Far - My Character's Father (dead). Successful Merchant of Nexus.
Gwendolan Far - My Character's Mother (dead).
Bastien Far - My Character