Saturday, 15 December 2007

Literary Section VI

Gothic Fantasy: The Memoirs of Prometheus
Act I: The Name of the Game
Part VI: Chess

Read Part I first! Right under the Dumbledore story.
Part II.
Part III.

Part IV.
Part V.

The girl with the golden eyes looked at me ponderously:

“You are disappointed, desperate, disgusted at what you have become; am I right?”

“Is it that obvious?” I countered bitterly.

“Well then, why not do away with yourself? Now that you have come to your senses, you know the way. Shall I oblige?” she said as, once more, a flame formed above her index finger, this time bigger, brighter and – painfully obvious – hotter. It pained me greatly just to look at it, but I was not afraid, not in the slightest, for I felt I had nothing to lose. No, not entirely.

“I would very much like to accept such a gentle release but, firstly, I hate being made fun of and secondly, I have an oath to keep.”

She extinguished her flame:

“I know of your oath. Oaths are sacred.”


“I would have burned you...”

“Of course…” said I, for indeed I believed her. It was beneath her to taunt me, for I was nothing; a fledgling Vampire, a Magus bereft of his Truth, lower than trash. Strangely I felt myself not quite smile; more of a smirk. I had come to understand that another game of chess had begun. The chessboard was the same; only the pieces had changed. I had to play my part and eventually, the piece that is Sorakirikn would kill me. Not yet though...

“What is your name?”

“They named me Prometheus.” In truth, it was the only name I knew, for I had not endeavored to seek my True Name.

“How exquisitely fitting...”

“And yours?”

I am Yui, Sovereign Deity of Kanto.” In time, I learned that the Wyrd organization in the East (or, at the very least, Japan) was very different from the
West and I still only have a very superficial understanding of it. In a nutshell, it resembles an amalgam of Chinese Celestial Bureaucracy and Shinto mythology. I am not sure how the two “systems” become incorporated into the whole but, seeing as my Shigaasan (my “Mother in Death”) was among the eminent and powerful rulers and saw to my education in their ways, I would say the hazy parts are intentional.

It took me a long time to adjust to my new unlife. I did not enjoy my condition – nor do I do now – but I keep moving forward, until something (or hopefully, someone) stops me. Yui taught me a new kind of magic, quite different from my Magia, to make up for my lost powers. She called it “Gouka”, “Hell's Flames”, a similar but lesser form than what she had used on Sorakirin. Not that she was unwilling to teach me its more powerful form but, strange a sorcery as it was to me, I found it difficult, stiff and clumsy to use – not to mention that I did not stay long enough with her.

I also had to make up for my lost physical prowess, so she taught me how to talk my way out of trouble and even how to perceive the nature and intent of others, both psychological and supernatural –much like Sora’s skill. If that failed, she had taught me how to use the stolen blood in my undead veins in order to temporarily alter my physique, on last resort. She also complemented Sora’s work in teaching me martial arts by instructing me in the basics of Shikakuken, the “Assassin’s Fist”. It is a technique based on the knowledge and exploitation of pressure points, useful to those lacking in raw strength, against any enemy, human or not.

I lost all contact with anyone from my past existence, but there was no lack of opportunities for me to get myself killed. Occasionally I wondered what happened to that traitor, Long Kuei! For that matter, I was a little disappointed that not one of the Dragons of Kildare came to look for me. As a teenager and young Magus, I had always assumed there was nothing Master Rama could or would not do for one of his own. However, I remain a creature of logic and there was much I could not properly account for: my transformation, possible failure and even an oath of blood I swore willingly, which made me a creature hunted, unwanted to say the least. Indeed, there was a small measure of relief for not having to exhibit my shame in front of my teachers. Of course, escape was out of the question.

Even if my will had been my own – which was not and I was fettered by my Shigaasan’s blood to her – there was no way I could escape her companion. Whether Vampire, Katsuishin or something born of the dark dreams and terrible mythologies of the East, I never learned. Two things were certain: he was fiercely loyal, unnaturally handsome and shockingly skilled. Yui, on the other hand, would occasionally share my bed and through the power of blood, we could unite as man and woman. I know it must seem weird (it does to me), but she was actually more than 400 years old. The Demon, as I called him (a linguistic pun with Oni-san and “oniisan”, “older brother”), I had come to understand, had absolutely no say whatsoever in those matters. However, she took great care not to hurt his feelings – if he had any – on my account. The only feelings he had demonstrated were blind obedience to his Mistress and a deep love for her, far beyond whatever she did with me. They never exchanged voiced words in my presence and they did not seem to have need for sound. That, I accepted but it has forever troubled me how such a love could be. I still have no answer.

There is one last incident worthy of recall, during my time in Japan. A year and a half had passed since my death, spring was fast approaching and I was in a real gloomy mood, still unable to cope with the fact that I could never again feel the spring warmth or see May's first dawn. I was beginning to think Sorakirin had long gone back to China, forgetting about the oath and everything. I do him injustice just in saying this. However, I was wrong.

At the time, my favorite haunt was an amusement park in Harajuku, where a particularly wicked urban Sennyo (the nuances between different eastern Fae escape me) had given me free leave to come and go, feed or do anything I pleased as long as I didn’t bore her and no disturbance was evident. The House of Mirrors was my favorite attraction. Romantic, terrible and enchanting: perfect feeding ground.

As I entered the House one night, a cute female student clinging from my arm, I thought I felt a presence near there, but I dismissed it as the Hunger. My usual tactics involved leaving my “girlfriend” a bit behind, just to keep her anxious and scared, then suddenly appearing to tease her, then all-over again, until she were ripe for the taking. I have never been forced to kill my prey and pray it never comes to that, for then I have forfeited myself. So then, I started to play my game and all the while she was either giggling or letting little frightened screams. Suddenly, she turned a corner and there was silence. A silence so deep and foreboding, that it almost scared me. “Nonsense”, I thought to myself and went towards the corner.

“I'm going to caaatch yououou...” and I turned the corner, only to find her handkerchief lying on the floor. Still there was silence, except for a small shuffle I heard overhead. I turned my head towards the ceiling; just my reflection.

“Playing hard to get, are we sugar plum?”

“Not at all, my friend” said a voice I would have recognized anywhere “not at all.” Sora, always clad in his black biker clothes, staff in hand and scar evident, appeared; the girl was nowhere to be seen.

“Sorakirin”, I managed to whisper in dumb surprise.

“Yes, Prometheus, it is truly I” he said, and smiled bitterly. I moved to clasp his hand but found the staff pointed an inch from my neck. His sole eye was soaked in tears as he looked at me.

“Sora, I...”

“So this is what you have become. I am sorry, I am so very sorry I could not keep the promise that night. I was recalled by my Order to report and temporarily lost track of you. Thank the witch for that! But my debt is now due, my friend. I have come to release you”, he said with a sob. He pulled back his staff and started chanting, focusing his Magia.

“I will not fall without a battle, my friend. Do not think I will stand and watch you vaporize me.”

“...I kind of expected that, but it is sad that I have to fight you this way.”

“Yes, yes it is.”

For 3 seconds, our eyes communicated our trust, our friendship, our loyalty and then, much faster than I could anticipate, let alone dodge, he struck me mightily with his staff that crackled with Prima Materia. Had the Demon – who had followed me all the way undetected, but had not intervened – not interfered, I would have been peacefully destroyed. Instead, the spike on the great ring of his staff neatly carved a vertical line from my forehead, over my left eye, took my eye and stopped just below my cheekbone. I fell back in agony, as the sacred energy burned through my eye cavity and into my head, to stop there. Two centimeters more and that would have been it. Instead, Sora was fighting furiously to fend off the Demon’s attacks and was wounded. At the spur of an unlucky moment, Demon found an opening and would have sliced my friend in half. He screamed my name, I screamed his and Demon’s blade-claw cleanly sliced off my hand, only to maim Sora and leave him unconscious.

I restored my hand and caressed my friend’s face after bandaging him. He would live. I had Demon neatly slice my hair, up to my neck and after braiding it, I placed it in Sora’s hand. Now he knew how to find me once I left Japan. Yes, that was it; I had to leave Japan and try to either survive or perish at the hands of my friend or anyone else, willing and cunning enough. I had to leave Yui’s and Demon’s shelter.

We returned to Yui that night and I informed her of my wishes, since it had to be her decision. She agreed and said that she had already arranged where I would go and that I could serve her better there, as an insider. I would be completely beyond her protection though; completely on my own. That was my wish.

Two days later, I took the plane to Singapore, then Germany and finally Basel, in Switzerland, where I would be introduced to an elder Vampire of a sect known only as the Tectus (the “Secretive”; I had heard a little about these guys from Miss Kensington and they were supposedly sorcerers) and presented as his progeny. Yui said that this Vampire “had not the option of displeasing her”. Thus, I stepped into a new chessboard altogether where, for the time being, I am just a pawn.

End of Act I

...and so, our young and promising Magus became a Vampire and was sent to join the Tectus, to fulfill his own wish and do the unknowable bidding of his mysterious killer, reanimator and briefly, lover: Yui, Sovereign Deity of Kanto. It was chiefly many of these events and a few others, happening miles away, that would shape his choices, his path and make him a legend amongst the Wyrd. However, these events are still decades away and our lonely, melancholic pawn is only now entering the terrible game of chess played by the masters of the night.


Not making any sense?

Go to Part I. Right under the Dumbledore story.
Go to Part II.
Go to Part III.
Go to Part IV.
Go to Part V.

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