What really happened to make Jack Valenstar, a character from this collaboration http://www.protagonize.com/exercise/fantandein-the-quest-for-the-stone-of-sanfadier , the man he is.
“Daddy, why am I a freak?” I asked my daddy, a tall man with brown hair and a bushy moustache. His green eyes looked at me, and his noise twitched like a rabbit, this always made me laugh. Daddy could always make me laugh when I was feeling down. A smile erupted on his face, and he picked me up in his arms and hugged me whilst rustling my hair.
“What makes you say that Jack ma boy?” Daddy asked me.
“Henry from down the road and his friends threw rocks at me. They said I was a freak and couldn’t feel it. They made me bleed but that thing happened again and I felt better” I answered, feeling bad as I remembered the jeering boys.
“I’ll have a talk with Henry’s dad, Jack. That was very naughty of him. You’re not a freak, you’re a very special boy” Daddy told me, giving me an Eskimo kiss. “What did you do after that?” He asked.
“I got angry because they wouldn’t leave me alone, so I threw one of the rocks back at them” I said to my daddy who looked angry straight away.
“Did you hurt them?” Daddy asked.
“No, but I broke a window next to them” I said proudly.
“Jack that was very bad of you! You know you’re not allowed to fight back!” Daddy said very sternly, making me scared.
“But… daddy!” I complained, but dad raised his finger and I went silent immediately.
“You are special Jack, you’re too strong, and you can seriously hurt people if you fight back. But you broke a window; did that person who owns it make fun of you? He has to fix that now, and that is something he doesn’t deserve” Daddy told me off, making me want to cry.
“I'm… sorry” I said, moving my face away from Daddy’s.
“I know you don’t mean bad Jack. So I want you to go and apologise to whoever owns that window, you must always own up for your actions son, good or bad. It makes you a better person to accept your actions and mistakes, and learn by them” Daddy said sternly, I didn’t understand him very well, but I nodded to say yes. I had to apologise, I knew that much.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Jack… Happy birthday to you!” Everyone sang together and began clapping.
I sat there with a party hat on my head, and a big cake in front of me with the number eight on the icing. I blew out all the candles in one go and everyone cheered and started yelling hip-hip hooray. Everyone in the village was there, a big table had been set up on the cobbled street that everyone sat at, and everyone was enjoying a nice sunny day on my eighth birthday.
My little sister Georgia sat beside me. She had short blonde hair, green eyes, petite hands, and a few freckles on her face. Me and Georgia got on really well, she loved it when we played bird, a game where I picked her up and she flew around with her arms out with me underneath her.
Mum was chatting with her friends, the mums of all my friends. Her bleach blonde hair and blue eyes lit up in the bright sunlight, and dad sat opposite me, digging into the chicken legs on the table. A girl called Deru sat on my other side, and she kept on smiling at me and passing me some fruit to eat. She had jet black hair and blue eyes, and a really nice smile with white teeth. She was as tall as me, and her skin looked really soft. I really liked Deru, but I was too embarrassed to ever tell her.
I ate the food in front of me, it was really delicious! Our little village always had the best crops and food, so we always had good things to eat. But this was the first time the whole village celebrated a single birthday, MY birthday to top it off! But everyone was so grateful; I managed to save Henry last week after a landslide up in the hills by pushing the boulder away from him. First time I had ever been happy to have super strength, him too!
We had finally become friends after that, something I had been trying to do for so long. Dad always told me to never stop trying, so I followed Henry and his friends up the hill to try and join in on their game. Henry was sitting a few seats away from me, chowing down on some pie, and soon enough we had an eating contest.
Our mums grounded us for three days because we threw up from eating too many sweet foods, it was worth it though.
Eventually it became dark, I said goodbye to Deru and Henry and I went home with my family as most of the villagers waved goodbye to me, me! I was so happy people were finally accepting of me. People always said my healing and strength was the work of dark forces, but I was born with them! I never had a choice about it!
But now people were happy with me, and I was happy in return. Mum and dad were jumping for joy when the village elder said they would put on a village birthday for me, they had tried for years to get people to like me.
That night I was in my room, reading a book on adventuring in candle light, when I became thirsty. So I got out of bed and went downstairs, I could hear mum and dad talking in the lounge in the fire place, I had to be quiet as I was supposed to be asleep.
I walked into the kitchen and got a mug of water to gulp down, I returned to the stairs when I heard mum say something that made me stop and put my ear to the door.
“Do you think we’ll be safe, Urik?” Mum asked dad.
“We’re miles away from any borders, Cleo; I doubt the king will allow any enemies to invade his land more than a few meters!” Dad reassured mum.
“War… I can’t believe it… I know relations with the other races have deteriorated, but I never thought it would turn to war” mum speculated.
“Sounds fishy to me, we’re fighting over a stone they say. Sounds to me like somebody’s up to something” Dad said.
“Well you know Sten from round the street left this afternoon to join the army, his parents are devastated” mum said sadly.
“I'm sure he’ll be fine…” dad said.
“Hi Deru” I said to the girl sitting on a swing hanging from the tree. I could tell she had been crying.
“Oh… hi Jack” she said without looking at me.
“I heard about your brother Sten, I'm really sorry for your loss” I sympathised with her.
“Thanks… I really miss him” Deru said sadly, biting her bottom lip.
“I know this probably doesn’t mean anything, but he died a hero. He served his country to his last breath, and he tried his hardest to make sure you were safe from the enemy” I consoled her.
“I know… but it’s still really hard… are you going to join the war?” She asked me, her blue, puffy eyes looking up at me.
“I don’t know… I don’t really want to. I kinda just want to stay here with you and everyone” I answered, sitting down on the grass.
“You’d be able to win the war I think. The enemy wouldn’t be able to hurt you; you could just scare them off home” Deru said melancholy.
“Maybe… but I'm only ten… I don’t think they’d ever send a boy to war…”
I tried to find Georgia; she had run off into the trees somewhere. I was calling out to her but I got no answer. Mum would kill me if she found out I had lost my little sister in the woods. I was getting really worried for Georgia’s, and mine’s, safety.
Just then Georgia burst through the trees running at me, she had the happiest and most excited look on her face I had ever seen. She stumbled and I jumped to catch her before she hit the ground. She thanked me and brushed the dirt off of my back after we got off the ground.
“Jack! Jack! You’ll never guess what I found!” Georgia gibbered.
“Slow down Georgey! Where did you go?” I tried to calm her down like the responsible big brother I was.
“Over there! I found some fairies! They’re so pretty, Jack!” Georgia pointed where she came from whilst jumping up and down on the spot.
“Fairies? You mean you actually found some? Yeah right” I made fun of her; I didn’t believe she had found something as rare as Fairies.
“No I'm telling the truth, Jack! They were so nice and pretty! When I said I should come back to you, they said they would wait so that you could meet them!” Georgia hyperventilated.
“Really?” I said, starting to believe.
“Really! Come on I’ll show you!” Georgia nearly yelled.
She grabbed my hand and led me back to where she came from. After five minutes of walking we came into a clearing in the woods, there was a big rock on the middle, and green grass all around on the ground. In this nature perfect scene were small lights flying around, green, blue, red, yellow, white, and purple. Tons of colours! And they reacted when Georgia led me onto the clearing.
The lights flew over to us and begun fluttering around us. Georgia giggled and played with them, I just stood in awe at their beauty. It was truly mesmerising. Georgia opened her hand and a white light fluttered down onto her palm. Now that it was still, I could see a very small person, a girl, standing on her hand.
She had a white leafy dress, white hair, and sparkling wings that gave off white dust as they fluttered. “Hello Georgia” it said with a soft, high pitched voice.
“Hello again, I brought my brother!” Georgia said whilst pointing to me.
The fairy looked at me, so I put on a smile and waved. “Hi there! I'm Jack! This is really exciting; I’ve never met a fairy before!” I said stumbling on my words, I was really nervous. I was completely captivated with their beauty.
She looked at me for a few seconds, before she gave a hiss and fell backwards on Georgia’s hand. “Evil boy! You evil, evil boy!” She yelled at me, before she began to fly again and flew away along with all the other fairies.
We were silent for a minute as we stood alone in the grassy clearing. I felt devastated, and I was very hurt at what they said. All my life people have said I was evil and I don’t know why, all I wanted was to make people happy.
Tears began to swell up in my eyes when Georgia gave me a hug and began leading me away from the clearing. “Don’t worry about them, Jack! They were nasty, I thought they were nice but turns out their ugly and stupid and silly. You’re not evil, you’re my big brother!” Georgia comforted me, making me feel ten times better.
I forced the bad feelings back down and I felt good again. “Thanks Georgey! I love you!” I said with a smile.
“I love you too!” Georgia said happily.
“Now I don’t want you home any later than eight alright?” Mum told me and Deru.
“Ok mum, I promise” I said as I rolled my eyes in embarrassment at having a curfew.
“Oh I'm so proud of you two! I always said you two would end up dating!” Mum said emotionally.
“Mum… please?” I said, imploring her to stop embarrassing me.
“Oh yes, you’re a man now. You don’t need your poor old mum to worry over you!” She said with a sarcastic tone that made Deru laugh, I was just more uncomfortable.
“Took you long enough!” Dad piped up from his chair whilst smoking from his pipe and reading a paper. “How old are you both now? Thirteen? You should have gone on your first date years ago!” He joked.
“Urik! These things take time!” Mum berated dad.
“I know I know… still, could have used the good news a while ago! Have you seen this paper? The king’s army lost another battle! That’s the third battle this month! AND the Sievere people have abandoned their neutrality! They’re split up and it could be civil war, most have flocked to fight the war on their own side, but others have joined us, the Falath’Nakan, the Vaan, and the Lothrid’s! The Vaan have progressed as far as Kalajes, the Falath’Nakan has taken the mountains, and our royal family is sitting around twiddling their thumbs, telling OUR people to go and die for pointless causes!” Dad finished his rant.
“Dad, the royal family has our best interests at heart! The king would never allow our people to suffer!” I protested.
“Jack you’re not old enough to understand yet, but the king isn’t all that. Men should be equal, not serve a single person. And as long as the king keeps the sorcerer Sethos in his staff, I’ll always doubt his intentions.”
I was prepared to argue when I saw Deru getting visibly upset. Her brother died three years ago, and the war was still a touchy subject for her. I took her hand, said goodbye to mum and ignored dad, and went to the front door. Once we had stepped outside we found Georgia standing there with her hands on her hips.
“Georgey, what's wrong?” I asked her.
“You!” Georgey snapped at Deru, making her jump.
“Me?” Deru said blankly.
“If you mistreat my brother I’ll pull out your hair and throw mud at you to make you look like a Vaan! That way my brother won’t think you’re pretty anymore!” She threatened by stamping her foot. She pushed past us and slammed the front door behind us.
We were quite bemused at her outburst, until we continued walking like we had seen nothing. After a while I turned to Deru and was quite apologetic.
“I'm sorry about Georgia by the way, we’ve always been close. I guess she just doesn’t like the fact I'm growing up now, she’s very protective of me” I told her.
Deru laughed and swished her long black hair. “She’s protective?! Look at yourself, I’ve lost count the amount of times you’ve scared off some of the village bullies after they were picking on her! And you’re not allowed to fight back, so you had to do it by picking up a wheelbarrow or whatever!” She said in jest.
“Yeah well that’s different, dad always said I was never allowed to fight back if somebody picked on me, but he never said anything about fighting back to protect somebody else” I said with a naughty smirk.
“I think that’s alright, and quite admirable” Deru said with a smile and a wink.
“Y-you think so?” I stumbled whilst nearly tripping up over my own feet at her pretty wink.
Soon enough, we were on top of the hill with the swing on the tree. It overlooked the whole village and beyond, we spent hours there just talking. We were best friends; it came only natural for us to go on dates now. We could have kissed when it got dark, but I chickened out, much to Deru’s amusement.
Me, Henry, and the boys were in the sweet shop. Henry and I were in discussion about the war. “I'm telling you Jack we should sign up, I look seventeen anyway just as long as I borrow some of my dad’s hair after he shaves and stick it to my chin. But you, all you have to do is tell them you can’t get hurt and they’ll let you fight the war as a general!” Henry said whilst eating some Jawa Droops.
“Ok one; that’s stupid. And two; it does hurt! It just heals up!” I joked whilst eating liquorish.
“Is there a difference?” Henry asked.
“Yeah! The difference is I would rather not get punched, then get punched and wait for the pain to go away” I laughed.
“You’re such a chicken!” Henry mocked me.
“Am not!” I went along.
“Are too! Have you even kissed Deru yet?” He said as he chomped on Darma Dunkers.
“Yes I have, last week actually, it was pretty cool” I said proudly.
“Oh! Finally! Hey everyone! Jack finally kissed a girl!” Henry called out in the store, the boys laughed and clapped for me.
“Henry…” I said blushing, embarrassed of all the attention.
“You’re fourteen next week and you’ve finally had your first kiss!” Henry laughed.
I walked through the front door at the end of the day. I was met with three faces, one of which I had never seen before. Mum and dad were standing in the hallway, along with a man in a white uniform of such, and they beckoned me to take a seat in the lounge. I did so, and they all sat down in their seats, my parents beside me, and the man in front of us.
The man had ginger hair, short stubble, a pointy nose, and squinty eyes. He appeared very gruff. My mother put one arm around me and the other on my knee, my father simply crossed his arms.
“Jack, this is Major Maikos of the royal army, he’s here to see you” mum told me.
“A Major? Why is a Major here to see me? Did I do something wrong?” I asked confused.
“No son, he’s here to have a discussion with you about your… ‘gifts’” dad said.
“Oh… how do you know about that?” I asked the stranger.
“Remember your birthday last month? How you were doing your party tricks to impress your friends? Well a traveller saw you heal after you jumped off of the barn, he told an officer, the officer reported it to the army, and the army told the king, and the king has sent the Major here” mum explained.
“Why?” I asked again.
“To see if it’s true young man” Major Maikos spoke with a deep voice. “You may well have guessed that the king, and myself, are sceptical to believe a boy of regenerative powers exists. I have been sent to determine if it is real, or if it just rumour.”
“It’s real” I answered truthfully. “I don’t know how, I was just born with it. No matter what hurts me, I always get better.”
“I see… and is there a limit to this… healing?” Major Maikos asked.
“Not that I'm aware of… I’ve been hurt pretty badly before and I was better in minutes. I once pushed a boulder in a landslide away from my friend, I got crushed under it but I was able to lift it off of me. It took me several days to heal completely from that” I said remembering the time I became friends with Henry.
“Excuse me; you lift it off of you?” Major Maikos repeated unsure.
“That’s enough Jack, don’t tell him anything else!” Dad ordered me.
“But dad…” I began, but dad cut me off.
“No Jack! Go to your room!” He shouted, to which I obliged.
“Thank you Jack, we shall see each other again” Major Maikos said.
I stomped upstairs to my room as I hard dad shout at the Major for intruding on their personal lives.
I took the knife out from my arm and cringed at the pain, I tossed the knife to my side where a table lay smashed in two after I punched it with my fist. Moments later my arm healed up, and was as good as new. The three men watching me were amazed, especially Major Maikos. His two subordinates, whose names I did not know, but one was very tall and the other was very muscular, observed my arm with unblinking eyes.
My parents were behind me, looking at each other with worry. Major Maikos had returned a few weeks later with his subordinates to observe my healing properties first hand, I was scared at first, I didn’t really want to hurt myself, but they told me to be brave. Dad clearly didn’t want me to do it, but he didn’t say anything after Major Maikos mentioned something called a royal decree. I didn’t know what it was but it sounded important.
Major Maikos walked up to me but I shied away, he bent down to my height and put his hand on my shoulder. “Tell me Jack, do you love your family?” He asked me.
“Yes” I answered weakly.
“Do you love your friends and your home?” He asked again.
“Yes” I repeated myself.
“Do you love your country too?” The Major asked again.
“Of course!” I said with faltering courage.
“What would you do if I told you there are creatures out there that wanted to take that all away from you? To hurt you and destroy everything you knew?” Major Maikos asked with a more than usual serious face.
“I… dunno” I said surprised at his random question.
“Wouldn’t you want to protect them? Make sure that nobody hurt them?” The Major suggested.
“I guess so… I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them…” I affirmed.
“Then join us, come with us to castle Hava, meet the king, and understand what kind of enemy we face. We need you Jack; you can save thousands of lives! Your strength and your healing can save the land!” The Major begged me with sincerity.
“Hold on!” Dad interrupted. “I'm not having my only son march off to a war that doesn’t concern him!”
“The choice is not yours Mr Valenstar, the choice is Jack’s. Don’t make me show you my royal letter again” the Major warned dad.
I looked between them, and then around me. The sky was clear and purple as always, the birds were chirping, and the sun was bright and warm. The winds whistled the grass blades and leaves, and the animal life was as happy as can be, as were the people of the village. I never wanted this to end.
“If people threaten my home… I think I can do something about it…” I said quietly.
I was waiting at the gates to the village for Major Maikos. He said something about national secrecy and protection, and so needed to come back with reinforcements to escort me to the castle. The entire village was forced to swear an oath not to tell any travellers or anyone who looked suspicious about me, that I was even born, let alone what I could do.
Dad had been very upset over the past couple of days; he kept on telling me that no matter what I would make him proud, I only had to come back safe and sound. Mum was bursting into tears at random times; she kept hugging me and telling me she loved me, and that she would write as often as she could. Georgia was surprisingly not upset, but happy for me. She kept saying that I was going to save the world, and I would return a hero. She couldn’t wait for that to happen, I on the other hand didn’t much fancy being called a hero. I just wanted to make sure my family was safe.
Henry and my friends were jealous of me. They kept telling me that I’d better not finish off the enemy until they were old enough to join, I said there wouldn’t be a problem, I didn’t actually see myself killing anything even if I was put into battle. So there would be plenty to go around when they could sign up at seventeen in three years.
Deru on the other hand had avoided me; it was only until yesterday that I managed to catch up with her. She said she was angry with me because I knew how she felt about the war, I said I was going for her sake and she said that was exactly what Sten said before he died. We had our first argument ever, and we broke up. I wasn’t angry at her, I knew that when I came home safely she would forgive me and then we could buy a house and get married.
So there I was waiting to go to the castle to meet the king, I had been practicing on my etiquette as per instructions from the Major and mum. The entire village had gathered to say goodbye to me, and my family was behind me, trying to hold back the tears.
Soon enough, on the horizon, a battalion of troops arrived with wagons, horses, and weapons. Major Maikos was at the forefront of them; he dismounted his white steed and walked up to me.
“It’s time Jack, are you ready?” The Major asked me.
“Yes” I answered, putting my bag of clothes and other personal items on my shoulder.
“Jack, don’t do anything reckless, always do what you’re told, and remember mummy always loves you” mum said with silent tears on her face. She gave me the biggest hug of my life and wouldn’t let go.
“I love you too mum, don’t worry. I’ll be back before you know it!” I said to try and cheer her up.
Mum let go of me but I was immediately grabbed by dad who also nearly hugged me to death. “Be nice to the king; forget everything I may have told you about them for now. They will be looking after you from now on so treat them nicely. Say please and thank you and yes sir. I'm really proud of you son, come home safely” dad gave me some final instructions.
“Of course I will dad, you can count on me. I won’t let you down!” I promised him.
Then Georgia came up to me. She gave me a pendant to wear around my neck. She kissed me on the cheek and looked at me. “When you get home I want to hear loads of stories of your adventures! Tell me about everything you see in the world, the people you meet, and the places you go!”
“Absolutely Georgey, I’ll visit the entire world twice just so that I can make sure I have more to tell you!” I said happily.
“Goodbye Jack” she waved at me with a smile.
“Goodbye Georgey, next time you see me I’ll be a new man!” I waved back and smiled.
I took a step forward, and Major Maikos put his arm on my shoulder and led me to one of the carriages in a hurry. I got inside and I looked out the window to see the whole village waving goodbye to me. I was so lucky to have so many people who cared about me. The Major forced my head back into the carriage and told me to be as quiet as possible from now on, he closed the covers on the windows and I sat in darkness as the carriages set off on the bumpy road.
I was lead into a huge, marble audience chamber. There were paintings and velvets of assorted colours decorating all around the walls. Large glass pictures of royal people and creatures marked what I assumed to be windows, and the gleaming whiteness of the area temporarily blinded me.
Along a huge red carpet that started at the base of the huge double oak doors that I walked through, was a large golden set of thrones on the other side. The entire audience chamber was empty, except for five men; one man looked as royal as the throne he sat on. The other four men stood in front of the throne, all of them in high ranked uniforms. Each as strange looking as the last.
The Major was the only soldier with me now, and he took my shoulder and led me towards the men. When we stopped in front of the throne he bowed on one knee, I hastily did the same. The man on the throne beckoned for us to rise, and so we did.
“This is the boy as requested my king” Major Maikos reported with a snap to attention.
“I see, you are dismissed Major. Remember, you never saw this boy” King Stephan said with a wave of his hand.
The Major saluted, turned on his heel, and marched out of the audience chamber. I was as quiet as a mouse, and probably as scared as one too, I had never been in this situation before and I didn’t know what to do.
“What is your name young man?” The king addressed me.
“J-Jack Valenstar your majesty!” I said with a quake in my voice.
“Well Jack… are the rumours true? Do you possess healing magic?” King Stephan asked me.
“I… I wouldn’t call it magic your majesty. I don’t know what it is… but yes I do” I answered in fear.
“Interesting, and strength as well?” The king continued.
“Yes your majesty” I said trying to be as polite as possible.
“Would you mind if we had a demonstration?” The king went on.
“Of course not your majesty” I said whilst swallowing.
I didn’t really want to give a demonstration, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t say no to the king himself. One of the people beside me stepped forward with a knife; he grabbed my hand and cut it open with it. I yelped in pain but bit my tongue to try and seem manly. The blood oozed out for a second before returning within the body, and my hand sewed up to be as good as new.
They all gasped except for the king, who merely raised his eyebrows. They then looked at me, like they were waiting for me to do something, I realised they wanted to see my strength. So I went to one of the men on my side, a bald headed man with a brown goatee, and picked him up with one arm, which deeply frightened him, but surprised the rest.
I lifted the man a few times to show his weight was quite light for me before putting him back on his feet where he immediately straightened himself up. I stepped away and stood exactly where I was before I moved and waited for their whispers and stares to stop.
“Well young Jack, I am surprised. This is most fortuitous that you have arrived at this hour! I see here the key to winning this dreadful war, and claiming the stone for our protection. With your strength and healing abilities, you can defeat anything our enemy might throw at us” King Stephan said happily, as if he couldn’t believe his luck from meeting me.
“I'm… I'm not much of a fighter your majesty… my dad always told me never to fight because I could hurt people” I said, my courage faltering and doubt came in.
“Your father was a good man to teach you that, but what if you were fighting for somebody else?” The king asked.
“He didn’t say anything about that” I answered.
“That is what this war is about, the other races are attacking us for something called the Stone of Sanfadier, and they believe we have it. However, we know that one of them has it and is engineering this war to exterminate all the other races, so we fight to claim it for ourselves to protect our people. This stone can tell the future to the user, so we could see when and where they would attack us, and defend ourselves indefinitely. We need you to protect the land, Jack, we need to you fight to save lives, and we need you to save our world. I know this is a lot to ask, but can you do this for us?” The king’s speech moved me inside. I felt enlightened, courageous; I knew what I had to do.
“I will try my best your majesty” I swore.
“Very good, but rest easy for now. We will not send a boy to war. We will train you; make you to greatest warrior in our land, so that you may protect all. Will you do this for us, for me?” The king begged me.
“I will your majesty” I said bowing.
“I am very pleased by your manners and patriotism; I cannot wait to see the end results. Urysus!” The king called the bald headed man I had lifted up. He snapped to attention and stepped forward, smiling at me. “Yes your majesty?” He answered with a bow.
“This is Urysus, Jack. He is one of our finest warriors and teachers, and a far wiser man then most of my staff put together. He will supervise your training; make you the warrior we need you to be. Listen to him, if it weren’t for him our land would have fallen a long time ago. Urysus, treat him well, the land needs you to make the hero that will save us” King Stephan ordered.
“I will succeed your majesty” Urysus stated with another bow.
“I have a few requests before we begin, if I may your majesty?” I blurted out, it had been on my mind since my trip to the castle, and I had finally summoned the courage to speak.
The men around us look offended, like I had spoken out of turn. Urysus simply looked at me with worry, but then a smile came from him, I liked this man. The king was surprised by my burst, but then nodded. “What are your terms, Jack?” He said nicely.
“I want to write letters to my family, and they want to send letters to me. I want time to be able to do that. I also want to find out what happened to a soldier who died four years ago, a man named Sten Marston; he came from the same village as me. I would like to find out how he died, and what became of his body so I can tell his family. And I want to be kept informed of Major Maikos, he has grown on me, I would just like to know that he’s safe from time to time for my own peace of mind” I stated my request, which I thought was fair.
King Stephan needed only a moment to think it over before a large smile erupted on his face. “Of course Jack, those are fair and reasonable terms.”
“Thank you your majesty” I said with another bow, before Urysus led me away from the throne to the doors I had entered the room with.
Just as I was being led away though, a man in uniform black entered from a side door by the throne. His black curly hair, thin moustache, and black eyes were exposed when he left the shadows to stand by the king.
“Who is that, Stephan?” He asked.
“Ah, Sethos, that is Jack Valenstar, our new hope. The one with the healing and strength magic” King Stephan turned to the man beside him.
“Interesting… so he’s finally arrived for training” Sethos said licking his lips. His eyes shot right through me, I felt very nervous just to be looked at by this man, but I had left the audience chamber before anything could be made of it.
I’ve been at the castle for a month, I'm never allowed to leave my room unless Urysus is with me, and even then it’s just to go to the training area. I’ve been taught loads of skills already, and I’ve gotten a firm grasp on how to control my strength as well! I'm really happy that I'm living up to expectations! I'm a natural with the sword too! Urysus says he’s jealous, he’s really kind and fair on me. He is strict when in training, but I can talk to him about anything.
I haven’t seen the king since I first came here, but my requests was granted. I'm trying super hard mum! Wish me luck!
Your loving son
I know it’s been a while, but I didn’t want to send a letter until I found something out for you. When I came to the castle I wanted to learn how Sten died, so I could tell you and your parents. I just learned yesterday, but I don’t know how long it will be for this letter to reach you.
Sten died when he was overwhelmed by Vaan, he was stabbed in the abdomen after he took down a dozen enemies, and allowed his comrades to escape. He was buried in the castle’s graveyard for exceptional posthumous heroes. I offered my prayers at his grave on your behalf, an act that greatly annoyed most of the officials whom my trainer, Urysus, reports to. They had to make sure the entire graveyard was empty; apparently I'm a big secret they’re saving for when I'm ready.
I'm working really hard, and I'm doing great! I’ve already mastered the sword and spear, now I'm working with daggers and bow staffs. I think of you every day, I miss you.
Yours in writing
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I left! I trust you are well. I’ve done so much already; I’ve mastered dozens of fighting styles and now I’ve been practicing on make shift puppets of the enemy. Vaan are ugly, Urysus calls them swamp turds! I don’t think that’s right though, I don’t have anything against the enemy, they are probably like me, fighting for what they believe in. The Falath’Nakan look scary, apparently they can shoot you anywhere with an arrow at any distance. Lothrid’s are like Vaan, but they seem stupid! And gooey! Sievere are really dangerous because their song can send people insane and drown them, although Urysus thinks I'm safe from them, even if I'm susceptible to their charm. He had me drowned for two days! I couldn’t breathe for the most part, but as soon as I was taken out of the water I was fine again! I had no idea my healing could do stuff like that! In fact, me and Urysus have been exploring other aspects of my healing, to see what it can do, and if I can control it to an extent. Nothing yet but I’ll let you know once I can!
How is Deru? And have you got a girlfriend yet? I'm pretty lonely in the castle, all I know is Urysus really, he’s pretty cool but I’d like to hang with somebody my own age. I'm becoming a warrior quickly, but I still don’t fancy the idea of killing. Hurry up and join!
Your best friend
How long has it been since I left now? Nearly two years I think. I’ve grown a lot since then, I'm 6.1 now. I understand that you don’t like Urysus, but he’s my only source of comfort here. I understand and accept that I'm the weapon that can save the world. But he realises I am a person still, hence why I'm still allowed to send letters.
I have bad news; Major Maikos was killed in battle last month. He was killed from a Falath’Nakan ambush during an expedition into the forest of Illumini. I was quite sad about that, but he was a soldier and he did his duty. Even worse news is that our forces were pushed back so far that we’ve lost the ground that our army had fought so long to obtain. Though I suspect you know this already, you and your papers and such. It pretty much is a stalemate on all fronts, it makes me more anxious to get out there and do my duty. I'm still hesitant on killing, which really infuriates Urysus and this Sethos guy for some reason, but I'm sure I’ll get over it.
I'm a full blown warrior now, I still practice, but now my training has switched to more personal methods. I'm learning the extent of my healing skills, they’ve actually sped up as a result, it’s impossible for me to lose a limb now because my body realises what’s happening and begins healing before the weapon has even left the body! Urysus doesn’t want to try decapitation yet, just to be on the safe side, but I'm well on the way to immortality and deployment I think. I’ve also learned how to access my strength for other means now; I can run at an amazing sixty miles per hour now! I was never able to do that before!
I miss you and everyone else. But I know from your last letter that I'm making you proud. I’ll make you even prouder yet!
Your warrior son
I got your last letter, I get what you’re saying, but I am a weapon of destruction to be used on our enemies. No more, no less. Once the war is over I can go back to being Jack Valenstar, your special boy, but for now I have a duty to uphold, and a weapon never forgets its role.
Urysus has taught me so much, I am so grateful for him. I honestly don’t see why you and dad hate him so much, you say he’s changed me, but I say I’ve grown up. War demands sacrifice of us all, and I'm making one of the biggest sacrifices. Just imagine the rewards for when I win the war for us? We can move into a massive house! I know that Henry is absolutely ecstatic about joining up next year, a year later than he wanted. But after the disastrous eighth siege of Kalajes, I can see why his dad would want to hold onto him for a while. But don’t worry, we retook Kalajes years ago, and we’ll take it back again. I know I won’t get to see him, seeing as how I’m the best guarded secret of the royal family, even the King’s young children, Destran and Aria, don’t know of my existence. Which is all well and good, the enemy must have no idea what's in store for them. In fact, the king has told all his generals to change strategy to delaying measures, to draw out the war to prepare for my debut a year from now.
Please let Henry know I'm not mad at him or Deru for getting together. I'm not there anymore, we’ve all changed, and I think it’s great my two best friends have found each other. Also, you won’t believe this, but I can heal others!! It was such a surprise to me, but when others are hurt, all I have to do is hurt myself and heal, and my healing abilities transfer to the injured people and make them better! Although it does take a lot out of me, I’ve never been so tired or weakened in my life. I tell you the king nearly had a heart attack when he found this out, another extraordinary ability from the great and powerful weapon to win the war. Although Urysus was very concerned about my weakened state, so he advised the king that I save my healing of others for high valued allies such as generals and heroes. The king accepted. Urysus truly is a wise man, but he seems enamoured with Sethos. I don’t like him, but Sethos likes me, he always checks up on me. I like his wife though, but Lillian always seems melancholy around me, like she doesn’t like what's happened to me. Weird I know.
Anxious for your next letter!
Your faithful heroic son
I'm finally eighteen! And Urysus and the king have given me a go ahead on battle deployment. I'm still concerned about killing for the first time, but Urysus says he has an idea. I have one final test to past before I'm put on the field. I can’t wait!
I am so ready, every weapon you can think of? Check! Mastered and dusted! Also, what do you mean I have an ego problem? More like I have an ego solution! Amirite? Heh. Every fighting style ever thought of? (Including that of our enemy.) Also in the big bag of reasons as to why I'm amazing. This is going to be soooo awesome! I'm gonna be all like wow and pow! They’ll never see me coming. Also, call Henry and everyone else a pussy for me for chickening out on joining up. I’ll get this war over with within a week and come there to kick their ass! Ha!
I know you’re upset about me destroying the pendant you gave me, but Urysus says I have to be without attachment and weakness for the upcoming battles. So I'm afraid this is my last letter to you until I come and say hello to you myself! Don’t be sad, just read dad’s papers, you’ll see me in there winning the war soon enough! Oh and tell Deru I’ll be back to swoon her away from Henry soon enough, there’s so many things I’ve wanted to do with her for a while now…
Your forever loving big brother
PS: Ignore the wet patch under that last sentence. It’s totally not drool. What? A man’s gotta fantasize about something when he’s alone at night. And it’s totally not THAT what you just thought of either… (Are you old enough to understand innuendo yet?)
Alright it’s drool, sue me.
So I was finally of age, ready, and able to go to war. The king was preparing to send me out in just a few days; I was sitting with restless anticipation in my room, ironically the room in the tallest tower of the castle, which just happened to be the most isolated. I had grown accustomed to these walls; I had seen them every day for four years. They were my home now, my place of Zen.
Just then, Urysus came into my room. He seemed distressed, even angry; I passed him a chair to sit down on which he hastily did. We sat in silence for a few minutes until I finally spoke.
“So you gonna tell me what's up?” I asked him.
“Oh no, nothing. Just politics and stuff, the king wants me to change your final test for some reason” Urysus answered with a sigh.
“Is that such a bad thing?” I said uncaringly.
“Well this final test I had planned for you would make you truly unstoppable, but the test the king wants is different. I don’t think it would be advantageous for you, if anything, a waste of time for your skills” Urysus explained.
I chuckled at the compliments. “Master, you know me better than anyone, you know what makes me tick, and what makes me happy. If you think your test will make me unstoppable, even though I already am, then I say we go with it. Never mind what the king thinks, he’ll thank us when I win the war” I said.
Urysus smiled and patted my shoulder. “You know what, Jack? You’re right! I love how we think on the same page! Let’s do it! Thanks for being the best student I ever had the pleasure of teaching” he proclaimed loudly and proudly.
“Thanks for being the best teacher a guy like me could have, and a good friend” I shared with him. I forced a smile, it was very hard for me to make facial expressions now, Urysus trained me to hide all emotions, even kill the muscles in my face. He did a good job.
We stood, poured ourselves a mug of ale each, and gulped to our continued health!
I was blindfolded, and had been for a while. I had been travelling in a carriage we stole as Urysus snuck me out of the castle, he didn’t want me to know where I was going for some reason, and I didn’t have permission to leave the castle yet either. Plausible deniability if we get caught I guess, if I never saw myself out of the castle, I could argue I never left the castle to my knowledge.
The road was bumpy, until we finally came to a stop. I heard Urysus dismount the front of the carriage and open a door, I got out and my feet touched the ground. I breathed in some air, it was so fresh! I hadn’t been out of the castle in so long!
“Alright we’re here Jack, remember the golden rule?” Urysus asked me.
“Don’t take off the blindfold” I answered.
“That’s right, if you do you fail the test, and it’ll be another year before the king sends you out to fight” Urysus warned.
“We’ll see, it’s not as if I'm going to fail anyways so there’s no point in telling me the rules again, but can you just tell me what the test is?” I nagged him.
“Alright then” Urysus said as he took my shoulders and led a blinded me a few steps. A couple of minutes later we came to a stop, the heat on my skin told me it was a sunny day, even if I couldn’t see anything. “The test is to neutralize the targets, but these are no ordinary targets. You’ve told me you have concerns about taking life? Well this test will simulate killing for you, that means you’ll get the feeling of killing an enemy, but you won’t actually be taking life. This will get rid of your doubts for you, and make you truly ready for war. Now I’ve had some of our sorcerers set up magic here, there will be moving targets in the backdrop of a village. When you hit them, they will cry out in pain or help, if you feel wet, that will be fake blood splashing on you, if they speak to you, beg you, or anything of the likes, don’t listen. It is all fake Jack, everything of it, so don’t hesitate, and don’t show mercy. Use your senses to take out all the targets, navigate around, and complete the test, use the sword I’ve given you for this task” Urysus explained everything to me in great detail.
It took me a few moments to comprehend all of it; I never knew we had available sorcerers for this kind of thing. But if Urysus said so then I had no reason to doubt him, I won’t actually be killing anything living here, that put my heart at ease. Urysus added a good luck but I didn’t need it, this would be a piece of cake! Actually I could go for some cake…
Ah well, later. I took a few steps forward, and listened and smelled everything around me. There were birds in the trees, and a familiar scent was in the air, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. I coughed, and mimicking bats, I listened the sound of it bouncing off of all the nearby objects, and I got a clear understanding of my surroundings. There were a few buildings in front of me, fences around me, and a gate above me. I stepped forward.
I coughed a few more times, and kept moving forward. Avoiding all the boxes and walls around me. I had the sword Urysus gave me unsheathed, in my hand, ready to strike. Then I heard footsteps, lots of them, and then people talking, this was powerful magic! I thought they were real people at first, but I remembered Urysus’ words, they weren’t real, they were magic illusions, they were my targets.
I made my way to them, taking a direct path. I coughed and I realised I was in a big open ground, and that my targets were in front of me. I walked to them, sword ready.
“Oh my god! Is that Jack? When did you get back? Wait… why do you have a sword?” I heard a female voice say. Magic, illusions, my heart faltered anyway. But I steeled myself, I knew they weren’t real, that this was my final test, it was meant to be as hard as possible. The target walked towards me and I remained still and quiet.
“Jack? Why do you have a blindfold on? It’s me! Der-AHHH!” The illusion was cut off from its speech with a slash of my sword. It moaned and I gave it a few more slashes for good measure until I heard it crumple lifeless to the ground, one target down.
I could feel something drip off my cheek, I tasted it with my tongue. Blood, very real tasting blood. This really was good magic! I heard something scream and I bolted into action, I jumped to the target that made the noise and run my blade through what I assumed to be its neck. I pulled out and stabbed the heart to finish it off.
I heard footsteps come up from behind me, heavy ones, and a roar. This was clearly a simulated attack, I used my superior speed to run around the target, grab it’s back, and pierce it’s chest before throwing it lifeless to the ground. This was easy!
The targets began running in different directions, most with screams. I used my speed to zoom from one to the other to cut it down. A few times the targets tried to fight back, but couldn’t even land a blow on me. I was ganged up a few times, but the targets were taken down in seconds.
From one to the other I cut the targets down, steadily growing accustomed to their shrieks of pain and begs for mercy. Silly targets, it you were quiet, I’d have a harder time finding you!
“Jack! Stop! It’s me! What are you- AHH!”
“Help me! It’s a monster! Help me-ACK! NOOO! GET OFF OF ME!! AAHH!!”
“Save me! Somebody stop him! Noo! AHHH! HELP ME! AHH! HELP! HEL…”
“Get away from hi-AHH! OOOHHAA!!”
“No! Please! AHHH! STOP! I BEG YOU!! I HAVE A BABY!! AHH! PLEASE! STOP! AHH!!”
“What have you done to my wife? She was pregnant! I’ll kill you! I’ll- ACK! JUDY! I'M SORR…”
“Please stop! Please Stop! AHH! AAHH! AAAHH!”
“Jack! It’s your best friend! Why are you doing -AHHH… AHHH… why…? Why Jack…? UUHA!”
“He’s killing everyone! He’s a demon! ACKK!! OH GOD! NO! AHHH!! AH! AH! HEEELP!”
“Save yourself! I always knew he was evil! I never thought he’d do this, get out of my way woman!”
“My baby! Have you seen my- AHH!! RUN HEATHER!! RUU…”
“Silly woman… OH NO!! AHHH!! ACK!”
“Mummy? Where’s my mummy? NO! What have you done to my mummy! HEY! AHHH! THAT HURTS! STOP! MUMMY! DADDY! AAHHhhh…” That target was quite small.
“Son! This is your father! I command you to stop!” Ha! Yeah right sure it was. “If you don’t stop Jack, I’ll have no choice but too- OOF! OWWW! JACK! STOP! NOW! AHH! JACK! PLEASE!! AHHH! I LOVED YOU!!” He was a corker, refused to die!
“URIK!!” Urik? How did a sorcerer know my father’s name to make a simulated target speak it? I was a national guarded secret! Only a dozen people knew of my existence! Oh well no matter. “Jack… I'm sorry I couldn’t stop you from turning into what you are… I love you son… I’ll always lov-AHHH!! I! ACCK! LOVE! AHHH! YOU!! OOHHH! Son…”
For half an hour I sped across the fake village, taking out all the targets. Though as the test went on, my hesitant nature of killing disappeared, but my suspicions grew. These ‘magic’ targets were saying things that even Urysus didn’t know of that made connections to me, let alone these sorcerers… I had counted three hundred and twelve targets dead. Only one was left.
It was another small one, I had taken dozens of the small targets out so far, and it was stationary against two targets I had already taken out. Seeing as how it was the last one, I took a leisurely stroll over to it. The test was over basically, I hadn’t removed the blindfold, and the legend of Jack Valenstar would be born soon, I can’t wait to tell my family what a great man I’ve become!
I paused in front of it, and it made small high pitched whimpers. I raised my sword to deliver the blow when I heard a voice that sounded way too familiar to be simple ‘magic’.
“They’re dead, Jack… you killed them all… why?” Said a female voice that I knew all too well.
That was the last draw; I was done with the test! And this was quite upsetting for me, taking the blindfold off now would not disqualify me, not for the last target! I lowered my sword, used my other hand to reach for the blindfold, and I yanked it off of me.
Georgia was kneeling before me covered in blood at the bodies of my mother and father; they were cut and sliced beyond repair. I looked around me; the bodies of everybody I once knew littered the streets, blood painting the walls and cobbled floors. I looked to my hands and clothes; they were drenched in blood, real blood.
It took me a minute to comprehend everything, my brain went numb, and my hands trembled. I didn’t believe what I saw, I couldn’t believe it, I wouldn’t believe it. Georgia was crying as she knelt over my mother and father. Slowly, but surely, the reality of the situation entered my mind. These weren’t targets. They were people. My people. My friends! My family!! MY LOVED ONES!! MY BONDS!! MINE!! THEY WERE MINE!! OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?! WHAT HAVE I DONE?! OH GOD!! OH GOD!! OH GOD!! OH GOD!! NOO!! THIS ISN’T REAL!! THIS ISN’T HAPPENING! IT’S FAKE!! IT’S FAKE!! IT HAS TO BE FAKE!! IT’S NOT REAL!! THAT’S RIGHT! I’LL WAKE UP ANY MOMENT NOW!! IT’S JUST A NIGHTMARE!! A HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE! ANY MOMENT NOW I’LL WAKE UP!! WHY WON’T I WAKE UP!? PLEASE!! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! PLEASE!! OH GOD!! NO!! NO!! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOO!!
“GEORGIA!! I’M SORRY! I'M SO SORRY! I DIDN’T KNOW!! I SWEAR!” I yelled at my little sister, this wasn’t true! It couldn’t be!
Just then, somebody grabbed my sword hand, before I even knew what was happening, somebody thrust my arm forward, and Georgia was impaled on the end of my sword. Her blood splattered out on the sword and the ground. “GEORGIA!!” I shrieked at the top of my lungs, so much that I yelled out my own blood from my mouth.
I rushed forward, withdrawing the sword and dropping it, and grabbed her in my arms. I stared into her eyes as I watched the life etch away from her. More drops of tears dripped from my face than the drops of blood from her wound. Barely a minute after sustaining the wound she breathed her last breath. I lost it.
I had to heal her, I needed to heal her, I reached for my sword, it was gone! I couldn’t find it anywhere! No! I made a fist and punched a hole in my own chest. I yelled in agony as I withdrew my hand and held onto Georgia’s lifeless body. I could feel my healing abilities wash onto her, I could see the wound on her body heal up, but I could not sense her heart starting again.
I made another wound, but my body acted on itself. It was like my powers had a mind of its own! I was already weakened from my first try of healing, I knew my body had a failsafe that prevented me from using my power on others if it was too much strain but I didn’t care!
I wrestled with myself, trying to punch another hole in me, but my powers negated my decisions. They threw my body back, tossed me around, made me thrash on the ground. I tried so very hard to fight this failsafe, but I couldn’t… I just couldn’t… Pain erupted in my heart. Pain that wouldn’t heal… pain that wouldn’t go away… there was so much pain… how could I deal with it?! I’ve never been hurt this much for so long before! I just wanted it to end, to stop. But how?
“I'm proud of you Jack, you’ve completed the final test” said another familiar voice.
I looked up to see Urysus standing over me with my sword. “What?” I said meekly as my brain froze, rejecting all information.
“You’ve removed all bonds that kept you human; you truly are a weapon of war now. I'm so proud of you” Urysus said with a smile. That same snivelling smile he always had, I hated it!
“What… the… HELL...! Are… you… talking… about?” I said quietly, breathlessly, and impishly.
“You’ve killed everyone you ever knew Jack. I didn’t think it in you; you’ve done your country and king a great service. With nothing to hold you back, you are now ready to enter the war as the ultimate killing machine we’ve trained you to be” Urysus said proudly.
I was frozen. I was breaking apart, I cried, yelled, swore, cursed, thrashed, and hit myself all at the same time. Eventually my brain managed to sort out the jumble of words that came from Urysus’ sentence into an actual form of communication. I looked up at my master.
“You had me kill my friends… my village… my family… TO BECOME A PERFECT WEAPON?!” I bellowed at the top of my lungs.
“Yes, for the good of the land. We need you, Jack, the war is in the twilight phases. We need you to end it now. Your village was deemed an acceptable sacrifice in order to save everyone else in the land. I trust you understand this was for the greater good, you’ve always had an understanding mind, Jack” Urysus admitted his guilt. I swear I had a heart attack due to the rage and pressure I felt on the spot, but my healing abilities fixed it in no time.
“YOU!! YOU! BASTARD! YOU BASTARD! YOU GODDAMNED BASTARD! HOW COULD YOU!? I TRUSTED YOU! YOU BASTARD! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!” I roared in anger, grievance, and pain.
“You did this to you. You said you wanted to do this, you were the one that killed them all, I just helped you on your final target” Urysus said calmly.
I roared in emotional turmoil at the truth of his words until he said the last thing. Last target… he meant Georgia! He forced me to kill her! It was his fault! He wanted her to die! It was him! All him! I got to my feet very wobbly and lashed at him.
“I’LL KILL YOU! YOU HEAR ME?! I’LL KILL YOU!!” I shouted at him over and over as I tried to attack him, but I was too weakened from the attempted healing of Georgia and the pain I was experiencing over what I had done. He was able to dodge all my attacks.
“JACK! STOP! You are a soldier of the royal army! A weapon of his majesty! Attacking me is to attack the king himself! An act of treason! Do you really want to waste all that you have trained for?!” Urysus pleaded with me, his skills as a warrior made him able to stay ahead of me.
“SCREW YOUR KING! I NEVER WANTED THIS! I WANTED TO PROTECT THEM! I DON’T CARE FOR YOUR WAR OR YOUR ROYAL FAMILY! ALL I CARED FOR WAS THEM! AND NOW THEY’RE DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU!!” I yelled so much my throat nearly collapsed.
“YOU DID THIS!! I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS JACK! YOU’RE THE MURDERER HERE! NOT ME!” Urysus yelled back to defend his actions.
I stopped and collapsed to the ground. The truth in his justification intensified the pain in my heart tenfold. I looked up to Urysus with so much hate and malevolence that I truly could not control my mouth, or my body.
“Where ever you go in Fantandein, Urysus… I’ll find you… I will hunt you through time and space to kill you! I’ll have my revenge! AND WHEN YOU ARE DEAD, I’LL KILL YOUR PRECIOUS KING! AND THEN HIS CHILDREN! AND THEN HIS CHILDRENS FRIENDS! AND THEN THEIR FRIENDS! I’LL KILL EVERYONE IN THE CASTLE! AND THEN I’LL KILL EVERYONE IN THE LAND!! AND THEN I’LL KILL ALL THE RACES!! ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT?! ISN’T IT?! BUT ONLY AFTER I KILL YOU URYSUS!! YOU’RE THE HERO NOW! STAY ALIVE!! IF YOU STAY ALIVE, EVERYONE ELSE IS SAFE!! BUT ONCE YOU ARE DEAD, SO IS EVERYONE ELSE!! DO YOU LIKE THAT?! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANTED?!” I threatened him with so much intensity I had no idea I could summon that much hate.
Urysus got the message, and taking advantage of my weakened state, he ran to the carriage and sped off like the coward I knew him to be. I tried to chase him, but I was too weak. I collapsed to the ground. Several hours later I finally moved.
I went back inside the dead village. I saw Deru, slashed to pieces. I saw Henry, stabbed in the gut and neck. I saw my friends scattered around, a pool of blood seeping from their bodies. I saw my neighbours, dead everywhere. I saw a gutted mother and a dead baby with a slash across its face in her arms. I saw my family, crumpled in a heap, lifeless and bloodied. I looked at my hands; all of their blood had been splattered on them. The collection of my whole village’s blood painted my body. It was too much! What could I do? I cried, and cried, and cried, and yelled, and then cried more! I smashed walls, carts, wagons, windows; I flew into a grieving rage! I couldn’t control myself!
I found the sword that Urysus dropped when I attacked him, the same sword that caused all this carnage, and I realised something. This is what I was trained for; this is what I was meant to do this whole time. Kill, destroy, hurt, bring pain, take life. If not my village then another one, maybe from another race, this pain I felt, this guilt. Doesn’t matter if you’re human, Sievere, Vaan, Falath’Nakan, or Lothrid, pain felt the same, and I was a bringer of pain. I was a bringer of evil.
I took the sword and I stabbed myself. I healed. So I stabbed myself again. I healed. I stabbed myself through the eye. I healed. I cut my own neck. I healed. I hacked away at my libs. I healed. I jumped off of buildings onto the sword on the ground. I healed. I started a fire and burned myself. I healed. I got a bucket of water and dunked my head in it. I healed. I stabbed myself whilst in the fire and my head submerged in a bucket of boiling water. I healed. I set fire to a house and pulled it down on top of myself. I healed. I found the tallest building in the village and jumped off of it. I healed. I did it again with a rope around my neck. I healed.
Before I knew it, day became night, which became day again, which became night again. I was exhausted but I kept trying to end the pain. And in an instant, after eighty days and nights passed, I gave up. I collapsed to the ground and gave myself a final cut at the bridge of my nose. It didn’t heal.
IT DIDN’T HEAL! Blood poured down my face and it stung like hell! I prepared to raise the now beaten and broken sword to make another blow. But I passed out before I could.
I awoke; I could tell several days had passed because the wildlife had been at my body and clothes. I stabbed myself one more time for good measure but to no avail. I healed. I threw the jagged sword away and looked around with a clear head for the first time. The village was in ruins; I must have destroyed it in my madness. And there was a mass grave in one of the meadows, I somehow buried everyone, but I couldn’t remember doing so.
I stood up and began walking, I was numb, I ached, and the pain in my heart had not vanished. It was then I realised I would never be able to kill myself to stop the pain. If I couldn’t do it myself, I would find others who could. Surely in this big wide world, there was somebody strong enough to finish me off.
Death was all I could think about. Death was all I wanted. Death was all I deserved. Death was the one thing I could never have. The irony in that was hotter than any molten rock, colder than the iciest mountains, and more brutal than the hardest punch in the face. I cursed myself, I cursed Urysus, I cursed the world, I cursed the king, I cursed the war and I cursed anything else that entered by broken and shallow mind.
It was then I decided to change, to become the most hated person in the world. Everyone I would ever meet would try to kill me, and surely one of those people would be able to. I wanted them to kill me so much. I swore never to kill without purpose again, and even with purpose I wouldn’t want to. I swore I would find Urysus and make him pay for his treachery. I swore I would never become close to anyone again. I swore that one day; somehow, I would stop this pain in my heart, and die.