Written in three different languages, sometimes changing mid-word
Guess I should put this down. Gotta clear my head. Probably a waste of time.
Lets start with the easy part. Religion.
Blood of Vol. ‘s funny, really. It’s so obviously a trap – “Okay, so you worship your undead masters whose goal is to kill the gods? Seriously, that just screams evil cult led by evil-cult-leading-monster-thing. Who the hell falls for that shit? Blood-tithe? Really? Can you say ‘looking for fools and dupes’ any louder?”
And then, they save your life. Nurse you back to health and give you a little perspective, let you feel like maybe your fate isn’t so set in stone and just because you’ve got the almost overwhelming urge to be a murder-machine doesn’t mean that you’ve got to be a murder-machine. Because almost overwhelming isn’t overwhelming, right? And that blood-tithe thing? That has some meaning too. Doesn’t hurt that, worst case, you know it helps somebody not get eaten.
So you think, hey, maybe this shop isn’t exactly what the shingle shows? And maybe you read the pamphlet and kinda-sorta get some comfort in the fact that the world isn’t as obvious and black and white as all that.
Exactly as printed on the tin.
At least I won’t have to worry about feeling foolish for long.
I died, and I didn’t even know it.
Not that special, happens a lot. Hell, I’ve caused it to happen to other people… it’s only fair I guess.
Life’s funny that way.
I died the moment that damned mark burned on my leg. No. That’s a lie. I died when I let it be seen. By my House, by Pai. Yeah. I’m dead because of my desire to finally be a Marked House member (the price of ambition, silly peasant!) or because I just wanted to take the edge off (just like a Brellish morality tale!).
As the play-wrights demand, my ill-formed character reaped as it sowed.
Dead. Elf. Walking.
Maybe if I keep pretending it doesn’t bother me it won’t.
Can’t help but remember, father’s last words to me playing in my ears.
“Silly little girl, you are what you are and nothing can change that. What? You think you can do something else, be something else? Don’t be stupid. You are, at best, a mediocre dancer. You are too plain for whoring and your intelligence gathering acumen is decidedly underwhelming. No, where you excel, what you were born to do, is killing.”
“You are so lovely dancing amidst arterial sprays, blade flashing and spell ending, a hand of fate or a swooping hawk. I see the joy in your eyes, the song in your heart! Truly, you are my daughter.”
I think that’s when he stabbed me through the gut.
“What? You disagree? Oh what a burden this father bears, to have such a quarrelsome daughter. Do as you will, then.” He drove a dagger through my hand. “Try and fail to be something you are not. I know what will happen. Perhaps, for a while, those around you will tolerate your mediocrity, your shallow skills.”
He stabbed my other hand, fully pinning me to the ground. It hurt.
“But one day, you will draw your blade and dance. You have the same lust as I, you feel the same fire. You are a killer, and you will kill. Don’t look at me that way… fine, right, no matter. Your petty delusions of ‘making the world better’ and foolish ethics will force you to kill and kill again as surely as if you hung your shingle as an assassin, only you will be paid in lies rather than gold. When you do, child, that is all they will have you do. It defines you, and they shall see it as I. So run along, little girl, and play at being what you are not. On day, I will find you again, and when I ask you shall tell me I was right.”
“You were born to spread death.”
Lovely, right? Words of a mad bastard? Hurt more than the daggers. The thought he might be right.
Still hurts. Worse, really. Because… that’s how it’s worked out so far.
‘Cept now, I guess. What with the Mark.
Because the lich-queen-thingy only values me for my Mark, because my kids might be Marked. Yeah, that really makes me feel more worthwhile as a person.
Wait… what was my Mark called again?
So now the crew is wondering why I chose to work with her, rather than take the “oh, I suppose if you just give me this little artifact of godly power I’ll give you something to help you hide and then we’ll go our separate ways. No need to trouble your conscience working with the big bad lich-queen. I won’t even fuck you over. Promise!” Makes me remember something else.
“What is the greatest tool of an assassin?”
I don’t remember what I said, but he slapped me.
“Foolish child, that was a simple answer unbecoming of my protégé. The correct answer is hope. Hope for life, for other’s lives. Hope prevents action. You must never fall to hope. You must always engender hope. And, no matter how… satisfying… it may be to watch as the grim realization of their true fate dawns in the eyes your prey, you must always strike before hope is extinguished. Hope is your greatest and cruelest weapon. Search for it without fail, sow it where fields are barren then once it’s in your grasp wield it and you shall reap the greatest and the least in equal measure.”
I could have gone without that in the ‘flashing-before-your-eyes’.
Still, it’s relevant, and since I’m a dead elf walking, I might as well do something worthwhile until my body catches up to the inevitable. No worries about failure, I’ve already failed.
That’s why I might still to do some good. “Win” as it were. The Queen’s got three-thousand years of fucking people over, plans and power. The only reason why we will possibly end her reign is because… she wants it ended too.
I think, she could be lying. That doesn’t make us any more fucked, so it doesn’t matter.
She has hope, hope that she’ll get what she wants, hope that she can spawn her House again. And that’s the only weakness she has. So we use that hope, because hope prevents action. We keep her hope alive, and maybe, just maybe, let the world stop suffering from her pain.
Or not. Doesn’t make me any less dead.