Chapter 1: The BabyEdit
You forget everything that happened before you were two years old. You have to rely on records and stories- your first word, your first steps, even who your parents are. And it's such an important time- it lays down who you love and your fundamental way of life.
I was a baby once. I was born in the village of Aoran, to a Reive and his wife. I grew up with a lot of free time- and I was always creative. I drew in the dirt and on the walls- with whatever I could get my hands on.
They say my favourite subject was the sun.
Chapter 2: The ChildEdit
You remember your childhood always. You remember the things that make you smile, the things that make you cry.
I remember drawing.
For hours I would draw. I drew people, places, objects. I drew the sun and everything beneath it. Drawing was where I was happiest. We were poor, but my parents always found a way to let me draw. It was the least they could do. Yes, drawing was when I was happiest, drawing was what I did to escape. I loved my sister too. I loved her so dearly. She wasn't much older than me but she was already a model of my mother. She made me smile, she made me happy. I did everything with her except draw.
And then the nightmares started.
Every night they would come, they would shake me from my rest and set me to trembling. Monsters in my head, monsters coming for me. Death, famine, plague. So vivid, so real! The night held only terrors for me, but come daytime I was fine. Come daytime I was happy again. The sun brought me peace, the sun brought me hope, the sun brought safety. A safety not even my own parents could give me. It fended away the horrible, horrible darkness. The monsters weren't as scary in the day. I began to draw them, amateurish and crude as all children's drawings are, but there was no mistaking the grotesque creatures for what they were.
My sister and I were taken away at 8. My mother died, and my father couldn't be bothered to keep us. So much for a father's love. We were taken in at an Order-run orphanage. The day no longer held the joy it once did when my mother was still alive. Every night I screamed and every day I cried.
Sometimes I saw her. In my dreams. She was different, changed, but always comforting. I drew at the orphanage, that was one thing that still made me happy. But when the women tending to us got a good look at what I was drawing, that was the end of that.
But it wasn't the end, not truly.
Chapter 3: The AdolescentEdit
When you grow up, you have to throw away your childhood's fears. But when you're a boy, you're not truly grown up- an aspiring adult, but a free spirit, seeking independence and love.
Because it is faked maturity, your safety from the nightmares is fake too- they kept up, more powerful if anything, but not a word could be spoken to anyone. Oh, the foolishness of creating such an impression! The best of men are not ashamed by their thoughts.
I remember well when I stopped drawing and joined the pastimes of the other boys. Mock-jousting, fencing with sticks- the usual games. I was not talented, but I enjoyed this enactment greatly. I imagined being a knight, fighting my demons, and it made me feel a little better- but so embarassed.
But my imagination needed an outlet, so at night I went down to the cellar and drew with chalk. I washed it off every morning, the visages of abominations running away with the cloudy water.
But this security would never last. Before I could finish my education, they returned- their forms now of hard lines and completely real, unavoidable, not terrified by the day- they were always in the corner of my eye. I could see them through my tears...
They got scared. They did not play with my any more.
I was just a boy.
Chapter 4: The LoverEdit
And then there she was.
I was older now, with the delusion of adulthood that all boys have. I still lived at the orphanage, I still drew, I still cried. But it was different now. Different because of her.
Her name was Jeyne.
I scared her like I scared everyone. But my persistence won through and she saw the other side of me, we laughed together, drew together and the pain eased, if only for a little while.
But it always came back in the night.
I howled and wept for the death of my mother, for the fallacy of the sun and all beneath it. I dreamed, and the dreams were cold. My sister and I grew apart. We still recognized each other as siblings, but we never slept with each other anymore. I was a man now and I deserved my own space my own life.
I wanted to run away with Jeyne, we could live together away from this place. But she didn't want to leave and that made me angry. I had promised myself I would never be my father, yet I struck her all the same. A boy! A boy I was! But that behavior is bred into you at a young age. Your father does it and you are taught that it is acceptable, as soldiers are taught that killing is fine if it is an enemy. But that wasn't the thing that scared her. It was what I was becoming, the monsters I saw in my dreams manifested in my anger, in my hate. 13 and so old, I thought I carried the world on my shoulders.
I beat Jeyne regularly. She didn't tell anyone and for that I beat her less. I was so confident in my abilities to control her, nobody could speak sense to me.
Except for my sister. My sister confronted me. "Stop what you're doing." she said. "Do you want to be father?" I screamed. The rage took hold, the seething rage. The injustice of men and the world in my mind grabbed me and controlled my actions. I hit her. I hit her twice, three times, maybe more. She was crying, weeping, and so was I. Blinding me were visions of dying men, of Jeyne, of creatures shrouded in cloaks with the wings of great birds.
They found me, rock in hand, with my sister's body at my feet.
Chapter 5: The Fallen ManEdit
Now I realised I had known all along- I had known the language of the birds and the beasts, of the rocks and the trees, of the sun and moon, of the creatures that flitted on etheral winds... and they clamoured for my attention. At last they had found an audience, and into my head they placed the world in all its horror and glory.
I could not escape the cacophany- no wall, no sky, no being was silent any more. Every maddening secret, every deepest fear, was laid bare before my screaming eyes.
And they were all just paintings. I ran out of cell wall soon enough, so I began to draw on myself. I could not stop- they quietened, appeased, as I formed them on the canvas, in the stone, in words I dare not speak...
The Order liked my work. They praised my artistry, but I saw their rotten cores, and my images were simply another weapon for their arsenal. I hated myself the more, but the more I hated, the more they clamoured to be set down in physicality, using my pain to force my hand.
There was one quiet moment. I was awake at the night's apex- insomniac as I had become- and the crowd calmed. For a moment, I felt a father's touch, comfort as I never had. I asked his name but his voice could not reach me. I named him Father as he was pulled away.
Then they returned, and it did not take long for them to begin their assault again, voices and bodies and sounds and lights and shapes and forced sensation.
They came in their robes every morning and took away my works, and then they placed another canvas on the wall, yanked the brush from my grasp and gave me a new one. The cold comfort of a wooden handle, the strokes of its bristles on the white, the shapes it left behind... I was trapped, trapped for my lifetime by the relief that was art. Sometimes I was given a stone and chisel- I shaped forms from boulders and they were taken too.
I was awake the whole time.
Chapter 6: The Dead ManEdit
They had enough. My paintings and drawings were repeating themselves now, and I was of no more use. They dragged me to the blackest cell they could find, and still the visions raged on. Visions of things past, present, and future were thrown before my eyes. I saw my father, and his coldness resonated off of him like the heat in summer. I saw Jeyne, Jeyne who I loved and drove away with violence. I saw my sister, broken and wounded on the ground. I saw something in black, sword in hand, driving a sword into a babe. I saw priests chanting in a language I knew not.
I saw the man with the red cloak on, sitting on a bloodstained chair. Laughing. Laughing at the world and all in it. Many times I saw this man.
I knew this man not.
I saw death and life as one and reality became as distant as the life I had before. The visions took place before me and spoke with such clarity, but their lips never moved. "Draw" they said "Give us life, give us breath" but I could not. Startling apparitions would appear before me and whisper names. Names I did not know, names that meant something.
And overall the man in red laughing at me, sitting on his throne with a sneer on his face, bleeding from a thousand wounds, blood soaking his hands a terrible red.
Laughing, always laughing.
My pounding head, a cataclysm that urged to be release, but only death brought release, and I couldn't die, not here, not now.
The cell was so dark, so cold, I was starving.
The clarity of my thoughts is striking right now, as I lay here in my corner, huddling for warmth. The first real clarity I have had in years is now. The presence of before, the calming fatherly love I never had, it's with me now.
And on his throne the red man dies.
Cold, but so warm. Tired, but so awake, I sit here in my dark cell.
I miss the sun most of all.