September 9th, 2001
You - By Orban (Lingdi Zhou)
So you really are dead. I would have thought your pretty spells would have
saved you, but in the end you were overpowered. I thought as much. You
dueled, no doubt, in this derelict hut of yours, resistant ‘till the end.
I will bury you. I did not doubt you as you thought, but they did. They
made a mockery of your values, they resented your very existence. They
believed you were an evil waiting to be realized. Yet you proved them
wrong. And they hated you for it. The entire clan hated you. I did not
hate you. I almost loved you, but the ‘almost’ was not enough. Even if
time had given me a chance, I would not have been allowed to mirror the
ultimate friendship you offered my humble soul.
It was not that I did not love you, nor was it that I could not fathom
harboring such a love. Indeed, my reactions toward you should have given
you some hint of the liking I had for even your presence around me. Whilst
the rest of the clan regarded you with suspicion, I trusted you. I loved
you in every sense of the word, and although I could not openly show it, I
told myself I had made enough subtle indications that a person with your
superior intellect would surely understand my predicament. Oddly, you
Yet, somehow, it was that very oddity that so attracted me to your
existence. Your long oaken hair, the gleaming green emeralds locked in
your pearly eyes, the curves which seemed to blend into one, perfect line -
I saw past that. The others said I was mesmerized by your looks, but they
did not understand. You and I both know that. They could never understand.
Their ignorance was just another reason that I disliked them. I could not
hate them, for they have given me shelter, food, fellowship, all that a man
needs to survive and more. Yet you were different. You hated them
passionately. They gave nothing to you and yet took as they pleased. They
picked at your confidence, at your dignity, until nothing remained but your
heart. But they could never touch that. For all their mocking, for all
their laughter at your attempts to be one of them, your noble spirit stayed
pure and resolute. I saw that. I was the only one who knew, knew that
whatever anyone did, whatever became of your ego, that heart would not
change. That is why I liked you. Not for those emerald eyes, or your
brilliant mind, but for your simple heart. And then I realized why you
could not understand my allusions - your heart refused to let anybody in.
Even though you yearned to love me, that would have taken away the strength
and honor you so bravely held on to.
I realize it was still hard for you, living as you did. They did not stop,
did they? Their constant put-downs must have made your life torturous. But
your spirit always filled you with just enough determination to push you
forward. Their feeble attempts to mentally push you away from success met
with failure, yet they persisted. They brought their powerful minds against
your iron heart, and succeeded only in bruising their skulls. They threw
savage spells at your ego, yet your untouchable heart allowed you to
remain safe. They turned to swords, slashing and poking at your soul, yet
that invulnerable spirit prevented even the smallest of sparks from
flying. And all the while, whether up against spell, steel, or mind, you
withstood, watched, learned, and grew.
Orban was the only other person besides I to respect you. It was your
looks, naturally, which he admired, but that led to a semblance of the trust
you so desperately needed. You could not have completely ignored his
roaming glances at your seductive bodice, although I am positive your
absolute disinterest was unfeigned. He could never see your heart of iron
as I did, but you cannot blame him. He is too akin to the others, too alike
to see his errors. But no, you could not forgive him. Indeed, you hated
him. Hated him for expelling you from the clan - their clan. You said
he was controlled by the others, that he was their lackey even though he
claimed to be their leader. Yet he had his reasons. He knew you as an
independent, someone who did not co-operate, who disliked superiors. I
think he was right. You did not belong in our clan. You were better off
alone. You achieved more that way.
I did not try to help you. Not when you were with the clan, not when you
were forced to go solo, and not when you finally brought about your own
destruction. Maybe I should have, I do not know. I had realized that if
you let me into your heart, it could only become weaker. Many a time was
there where my own heart was torn into equal halves, each with equally
feasible arguments and equally weighted outcomes. I watched, always making
the excuse that I was waiting for a sign to join you in your infinite
struggle against the prejudices of the world. That sign never came. No, I
am mistaken. I did not allow that sign to come. Always too afraid to come
to your rescue, always too afraid to take a stand for my beliefs. I refused
your friendship, your love, and your heart. I thought that I was making you
a better person. I see now that in the end it was these refusals that
finally broke that heart of steel.
I am sorry. Sorry that I made that mistake. But you must understand, I
could never have loved you as you loved me, nor could I have withstood the
guilt of knowingly helping you to weaken that gallant spirit. The former the
mages would never have allowed. They were against giving you any kind of
help - they saw you as a threat. You could never escape their constant
referrals to your father, his betrayal of the clan, his traitorous actions.
The entire clan was suspicious of your every action, always questioning your
motives and rights. But I trusted you. At their laughter when you failed,
their scorns when you achieved, their triumph when you were defeated in
duel, I held my belief that you were different from your father.
I held my beliefs but, being the fool that I am, I also held them back from
you. I was afraid you would see them as a change in feelings, an inclining
towards accepting your love. Again I was wrong, and again I am sorry. But
I supported you secretly. I spoke of you in high regard when I was sure
of my companions. I was forever biased in your favor. I even
transferred gold to your bank on occasion. I did all this in the hope that
you would finally understand that I did love you; only our love could not
possibly blossom on such a world in such conditions. But you refused
to see my way - you believed that it was your fault and as long as you
continued to loosen your spirit’s protection you could reach out to me.
I was too late, too late to tell you that once you started to weaken
your heart you would begin the slow slide towards self-destruction. But
you gradually shunned that courageous heart, and began to grow. In
power and in faith, in truth and virtuosity, you grew to pass them all,
one by one. You proved once and for all that they were wrong - that your
spirit was more pure than any of theirs could be. But what you could
not see was how you undermined your own safety in doing so. And for
that you paid the ultimate price.
Everybody likes to be trusted. You must have envied the trust they placed
on my shoulders, knowing they would never bestow even a shadow of that trust
with your desecrated family reputation. How do you feel about your father?
Would you have trusted him? I find it difficult to believe someone as
righteous as you could hate your own blood, yet his actions directly
caused your misery. Did he ever explain why he betrayed our secrets to
the clan he spied for? Was it for money? A rare item? Precious
catacomb eggs? It must have been a great prize to match the greater
treachery he committed against us.
You even saved my life, an occasion which will linger to remind me of your
dedication towards my being. For all the hurt your brawl with the three
warriors hell-bent on ending my life would have had on not only your
reputation but you yourself. Your actions that day are inscribed into my
mind in indelible ink. Your half-twist to block the throwing dagger
destined for my throat. The protective spells you hastily placed on me
whilst being pummeled continuously. The gentle but absolutely secure
manner you used to support me to a healer after suffering immense physical
damage to yourself in defeating enemies you had never met before. For
these and more I give my greatest thanks - I place them as the most valued
of my experiences, the pinnacle of pricelessness that I would not exchange
for the stars themselves.
I will seek revenge. I know it is too late to save your beleaguered spirit,
but nonetheless they will pay for their crimes. Orban I will spare, but for
the others, those that wronged you, let them quake with fear. Know that I
will seek out every one of them, and deal with their evil souls accordingly.
Orban will understand - but the rest will not. They do not have to. I
could not pluck up the courage for so long - always hiding in their shadows,
pretending to side with them and denying myself true happiness with you.
But I have changed, and I have you to thank for aiding my transformation.
No longer will the true you be hidden in my heart - your decency and
integrity will be revealed for all to see and understand. They will pay for
their ignorance, their resentment, their arrogance. I can see how the clan
molded me into an unfeeling statue, seeing but unable to reach out. But I
have broken these bonds, even if it took your death for me to do so. The
clan will have my resignation, and then my plans will proceed. I cannot
rest until the injustices against you have been resolved.
Your hut is cold. You must have been cold too, before you could not feel
the cold anymore. I will bury you. You shouldn’t have died. I could have
saved you you’re your own obliteration. Forgive me - I failed you. I
failed in every single aspect of my thinking towards you, bar none. I
turned away your soul, disemboweled your faith, and destroyed your hope.
But most of all, it was no-one else but I who broke that valiant spirit.
Every chance was given to me to halt your progression into fatality. Yet,
in the end, my cowardly mind could only watch as you neared the brink. And
now that you are dead, all I can hope for is that you will understand. I
will make it up to you. Somewhere where they cannot come, in a place where
both our souls can be free. I will love you then - I will show you the
happiness that you could not have in this cruel, harsh world. Until then,
be well. Know that I cannot rest in peace until I have corrected my wrongs,
and sought vengeance on any and all who have wronged your saintly soul. The
clan will bow to the scales of justice, and suffer their due. Until then, I
will bury your body in their soil, but your angelic heart will reside in my
own. I will carry you with me - I will remember you, always. Goodbye, my
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