Initium


Be sure to read Velitatio before this.

Coughing blood and aching from dozens, perhaps hundreds of bruises and cuts across my body, I stumble into the main room of the pantheon. My hands claw at my back, trying to reach the wicked, serrated blade embedded near my spine. Not fully in control of my legs, I complete a drunken half- circle before collapsing near the center of the vast antechamber, the force of my impact against the ground driving the blade even deeper. I gasp and cry out, the blade grating against my ribs. The wound is not fatal- although it seems like it should be- but the pain is agonizing.

After several minutes, I feel the blade cut into one of my fingers. I grasp it, the sharp metal scoring through my flesh and hitting bone. I grit my teeth and pull. Pain flares up in my back and I cry out again, but I continue. Eventually, I feel another stab of pain that makes my eyes lose focus for a moment and hear a wet sucking sound. It takes me a moment to realize that I have finally wrenched it free. Exhaling in relief, I slowly manage to roll to the other side to look at the bloodstained blade. It has no hilt or handle, but it is as long as my forearm and wickedly barbed. Air comes to me in ragged breaths as I examine it. A strange rush overtakes me for a moment as I eye the weapon. A sort of high that I have never felt before, an exhilaration unlike any other. It feels so perfect. So wonderful. So real. The Blade of Supremacy. Object 1921. My vision grows hazy. My eyelids suddenly feel far too heavy, and they close before I know what happened.

Darkness.

Praetorious.

Who… what is this? Are you… the Object?

Ha! You truly know nothing, do you? A fool who has read of the Objects and fancied himself a Seeker. You are pitiful. Nothing.

Who are you?

My name would mean nothing to you.

Why are you here?

It would not help you to know,

Then what do you want from me?

Everything.


I awake with a start, laughter ringing in my ears. There is a warm sensation on my back, and I realize after touching it that it comes from the blood flowing from the blade’s entry. Nausea and lightheadedness overcome me as I try to stand, and I collapse again, my head swimming and aching. Gasping for air, a try again, my endeavor far more successful as I shamble outside, the full moon’s light seeming to grate against my eyes, and the unforgiving stone steps cold against my feet. Clutching the blade, I take my first tentative steps into the night, managing to walk with some semblance of a normal gait. I begin the mile-long walk back to my own home under stars that seem practically nonexistent in their dimness.

My town is scattered and disorganized- distance from the Emperor’s seat of power and civilization has that effect- and I pass no other houses before reaching my own. Pushing the wooden door open, I need to take only a couple steps into my home before I can see her lying against the wall, her knees pulled close to her and her head slumped forward.

Asleep.

I close the door softly and kneel down in front of her, so that I can see her eyes behind the hair that has fallen in her face. See the faint lines that the tears have left down her face. It occurs to me that I have no idea how long the Holder’s trial took. It could easily have been days, perhaps longer. Guilt strikes me for how I must have made her feel, and I brush a newly fallen tear away with my finger.

“Angela?” I whisper softly. Her eyes flutter for a moment before they open, a few more tears falling. She takes my hand in her own.

“Praetorious…” she says, her speech slurred by fatigue and sleep, “what happened? It’s been three days… I was so worried…” She stops for a moment before continuing, fighting off the desire to sleep, “where… were you?” She begins to notice my cuts and bruises, “what… happened to you?”

I pause for a moment, and I cannot think of what to say. Should I tell her the truth? About the rumor I followed out of curiosity and what it led me to? The horrors I experienced throughout the Holder’s trial? The awful truth I learned at the end of it all, that I somehow managed to retain without taking my own life? “I did something insane. Something I shouldn’t have done. I-“

She kisses me for a long moment, interrupting me. “Forget it… I don’t care… what it was…” she says to me, “just promise… that you’ll never do it again… that you won’t get hurt like this again…”

I pause for a moment. At once, the feeling comes back to me. The euphoria of acquiring an Object. The sense of fulfillment, something so great and powerful that I felt as if I was soaring through the heavens. I can feel the high that I felt, even while pulling the razor-sharp blade out of my body.

And then I see Angela’s face, the tear streaks across it. “I won’t do it again,” I promise her, but I can see that she already fell back asleep. A can feel myself smile as I pull myself up next to her by the wall. In her sleep, she nestles against me, her head on my shoulder. Slowly, my eyes close, too.

What do you want from me?

Everything.

What do you want from me?

Everything.

What do you want from me?

Everything.

What do you want from me?

Everything.

What do you want from me?

Everything.

To be continued in Luminis.

Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
Last modified on 2009-07-23 13:27:36Viewed 5263 times

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