Lucid (Expositional)

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    Nicholas Gritsipis

    Perth set their quill down, two letters written before them. One embroidered in malfeasance, one with chivalry. It seemed their new monkier had become balance, then. They wondered if they let too much audacity seep into the inked parchment destined for their clan. The other sat pristine, practically emanating with a longing for the kings own eye.

    They wore the mask of bronze proudly, a reminder to them of the way battlefields were ultimately the home of scavengers, long after the fighting ended. The irony of their charge was not lost on them. They would probably die this month. They would be the feast for the ravens. This was the truth they had accepted, though it was not one they would assume quite yet. They opened the door to the shack they settled in for the night, a musty tool shed outside a much larger barn house, and left a single feather on the main buildings door. A silent acknowledgement of thanks to the unknowing people kind enough to lend their aid to the dishonored.

    The sharp of their sword weighed heavily to their hand, and they cut. The blood trickling down their hand reminded them that they were alive, even if they felt like a dead body walking. The stars shone brightly again tonight, the chilled air contrasting sharply to the hot summer heat of the morning sun. The old farms of Freehold were a sight that was oddly inspiring. A beacon of relative normality in the larger, stranger world. They stepped the wet dirt of the rough trail, and got lost in thought once more.

    They thought of the town that graciously took them in, despite their obviously pre-formed cliques and groups. They knew each other for many years yet only were too happy to accept a new face. They showed them such kindness, and they could never repay them.

    They once thought of the he that existed before the they. A broken and terrible little creature. Mind sharp as a knife, he manipulated and pulled strings. They thought he was truely a fool, trying to believe himself as the new version of another. The wierd one. The acidic one. They thanked the citrus jester for the lesson he taught. They would never, could never, be that, but to them this was better.

    They thought back to the dragon. He had agency. He could leave this place. He told them to be their own being and forge themselves a new way. They graciously accepted. They silently thanked him as well.

    Yes, they had one left to thank. The gods that made this all possible. The gods that allowed them this opportunity to fight and defend against destiny. Whatever aspect of fate or otherwise allowed the trials he went through, they were thanked as well.

    Now they snapped back to the present. They stood under a willow, glistened with yellow blooms. They thought of the revenge that was oh so petty but already in motion. They would play the part for it. They would be he and allow he one last dance. One final charade.

    After that, they only wished to fight forever. Not nonstop fighting per say, but to fight eternity itself. That was the biggest prize. To fight the oncoming storm was all that remained. They knew it came. They knew more than most what must be met in order to kill it. They must fight a vain war against an unbeatable enemy in hopes of buying time for the stronger.

    This has always been their story.

    They were simply a side character for the true heroes of Freehold to flourish.

    True heros like the innkeep. Like the merchants. The library keepers. They were the heroes as well as the ones wielding weaponry. They were interchangeable. The flame would be lit and they would earn their keep. They took a fondness to one in particular, but she would get her chance when they proved why it was a losing gambit either way.
    They cursed having to force this choice. It had to be done.

    It was time for a new story, one forged with better quality of paper, hopefully. One written with a less tragic ending for them at least.

    It was time for the Seventh Kingdom to finally bloom.

    Pa dhz aptl mvy aol nylhalza olyvlz av nv av dhy.

    I am The Jagged Shadow, The Ravens Mist, The Blade Dancer, The Spell Sunderer, and the wrecker of your shit.

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