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It is sometimes very dark in my head. Even I, at best, know not of the shadiest corners of my brain and the secrets they hold. They are a world away, stolen from me by my master. Maybe he keeps them in a jar and saves them for later. Maybe he just listens to them alone at night. It isn’t up to me to decide. They may be mine, but I stake no claim to them. My busy head is full enough without them intruding.
Surprisingly though, I have most of my memories still with me. I close my eyes and bring them out occasionally, when I have time to dwell on the past; this time is rare. My favorite memory is of just a few years ago, minutes after my fourteenth birthday. Fourteen was an important age to my master. It meant I was an adult, prepared for him to thrust me into the real world and the all-too-real war. The moment I remember with flawless clarity is the moment I took my weapon into my hands. It was a gift, a custom blade built for my hand alone. In anyone else’s it would rust and crumble; in mine it shone. The heaviness of the metal in my hand is what I can recall. The dim glow it gave off. The power that filled me.
The rest of the day was taken from me. My master siphoned it well into the night. He crept into my bedroom and cradled my head in his lap. Gently brushing my hair off my face, he scooped the memory into his hands and held it there. I could see his pleasure in the reflection it gave off. I just closed my eyes.
It easier to give in than it is to fight my master. I swore fealty to him too long ago to have the energy to seek a way out. And why would I? He treats me kindly. He is a man, or boy really, of power and loyalty. He has never once given me reason not to trust him. Sometimes I even think I may love him but to cherish those feelings would be suicide so I cast them aside.
There are always stories of my master. He is known to his kingdom as Luca, prince of battle. I hear tell of him riding into war on his grey stallion, blending in with the smoke, his red cloak matching the blood of his fallen enemies. The ladies he meets swoon over his green-as-grass eyes and fair hair. He leaves a trail of broken hearts and broken bodies.
It is quite possible there are stories of me too, riding along, three paces behind him. Possibly people tell of my bloodstained past, my work as my master’s assassin, killing those who cross him. Possibly they tell of my empty eyes and my grace. I wouldn’t know. I don’t listen to them.
In the morning of my awakening, I woke earlier then normal. Thoughts had kept me up late, for my master had not been to see me in days. I yearned to see him, if not just to give him the business of my mind. He would take it away with ease, that crooked smile darting across his face as I drifted into a number state.
I dressed simply, in the black fitted clothes of a fighter. Chiding myself for not having been to the barber recently, I pulled my long dark hair into a braid. I ignored the mirror as I left.
“Good morning, my dear Myla.” a voice said. I peeked into the study it emitted from to find my master’s uncle, King Traven, not even looking up from the papers he read.
“Good morning, my king.” I murmured. He nodded. “Is there something you require of me?” I asked, an unwelcome steely tone entering my voice. I chastened myself.
“No, not at all. Have a lovely day, sweetheart.” he said, still not raising his eyes. Wincing at his terms of endearments, I continued on my way. I disliked the soft spot he seemed to carry for me. It made me feel weak; a child perhaps. I desperately needed a quieter mind, for as I continued down the hall, I couldn’t shake the annoyance. I wasn’t used to holding so many feelings. Just a few steps more and I began to resent my master for leaving me alone in the mansion. A few steps after that, guilt crept in.
I decided to skip breakfast, knowing I wasn’t in the right state to go along with the frivolities of the other residents and climbed the stairs to the tunnels. They were long strips of railing over the weapons rooms and labs; so my master could observe I suppose. He didn’t use them as much as I did. It was always quiet up there, and lonely. Just me and the silent glare of lethal metal. It was a sound I craved.
It came upon me suddenly, after minutes of me sitting on the railing, my feet dangling: I was not alone. Someone was breathing over in the corner. Swinging my feet back over, I walked to where I pinpointed the stranger, but it was gone. This confused me. Who would bother running away?
I got an answer of sorts when the cold click of a gun barrel pressed into my spine. I stiffened. It is not something one suspects to come across; a hidden killer in the tunnels. Pondering this for but a second, I spun around and slammed the heel of my hand into the jaw of my attacker. I heard a satisfying crack of bone and the gun dropped to the ground. I picked it up, my finger on the trigger and pointed it at the stranger. But it wasn’t a stranger at all.
“Master.” I sighed, dropping to my knees. The gun fell to the rails with a clatter. He picked it up and pressed it once again to me, this time on my temple. I didn’t flinch but I could feel my heart race. I didn’t understand what he wanted from me. I wasn’t sure why he was doing this, but I couldn’t object. If it was my time to leave, I wouldn’t complain. I would finally learn what came after the end. I wondered if I’d have any acquaintances when I got there, or if I would be greeted by the enemies I’d made.
“Do you want to die, my love?” my master whispered. I shook my head, my face betraying my confusion. He laughed, a kind-of out of control sound that made me tense. This was my master like I had never seen before. “Why do you stay here with me?” he asked.
“You are my master, and one day, my king. It is my duty to serve you, my lord.” I replied. My voice was strong, for which I was proud. But my master’s face seemed disappointed and he looked away.
“Is that the only reason, Myla?” he asked, his eyes on me again. Thrown off slightly by the fact that he used my name, I hesitated. In the time it took me to form an answer, he began to squeeze the trigger. I could feel it and instinct took over. I’m not proud of what I did, looking back, but it’s in my blood to resist my own demise. So I twisted my master’s arm and pointed the gun up at the ceiling just as it fired. Standing up, I wrenched the gun out of his hand. I pointed it at him.
“You wish me dead, master?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. He tilted his head, observing.
“I wish you to resist me. Do you not have free will?” His voice was light and weighty at the same time. I could feel it surrounding me, locking me in.
“You and I both know I do not.” I replied. I did not lower the gun. I enjoyed the feeling of power because I knew it couldn’t last. This was my master, and I was his property. I would turn the weapon against myself if those were his instructions.
I was blinded by his answering grin. “Ah yes, about that, my dear. That is why I am here.” He said. “Now please hand me the gun.” I did, without thought. He eyed it carefully before placing it on the ground. Stepping closer to me, he took a deep breath. In that instant, he looked vulnerable. Almost as if he was nervous.
“Why was it necessary to hold a gun against my head, my lord?” I dared to ask, tucking a flyaway piece of hair behind my ear. He chuckled. The sounds bounced off of the pipes around us.
“I’m not sure. My mind isn’t where it usually is it seems.” he replied. I began shaking slightly, set off by the wildness in his bright eyes. “My mind is too full, my dear. I fear I’ve reached my limit.” he murmured.
It was in that moment that my world ended. From the moment of my awakening in this world, my master had freed me of the weighty thoughts in my mind and if he was too filled, I would have to start learning how to deal with my own hyperactivity.
“Master, what does that mean?” I gasped. My last shred of hope was clinging to the idea that maybe I had misinterpreted what he had told me; his next few words crushed that hope.
“I can not help you anymore, Myla.” His eyes reached deep into me until I cringed away from them. Curling into myself, I fell onto the railing. I didn’t even acknowledge the pain in my side for the mental pain was too intense. I could hear my master murmur my name but it was all too much.
“Why?” I moaned. My master’s hand circled me, pulling me closer to him. I whimper slightly, my emotions overwhelming me. “I can’t do this, my lord.” I whisper.
“You have to learn, Myla.” my master whispers into my ear. His breath tickles me ear. I shove away from him, none too gently. His expression of hurt melts into one of understanding. “My love, I know this is hard, but I’ve done all I could for you. All your life I’ve taken what I can. But now I can’t anymore.” he said.
“One more time? Please?” I pleaded. My heart tightened at the thought that maybe I could get relief just for one moment more. My master’s face hardened.
“It could kill me.” he said flatly. To my utter shame, a tear streaked down my cheek. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my loss or the thought of what I could lose. My master meant everything to me, more than life itself. But my selfishness was taking over. I wanted the freedom for just a little while. I craved it with every fiber of my being.
“Please.” I begged. “I’m sorry, I need it.” If I wasn’t already on the floor, I would’ve fallen to my knees. I was crying now, silver tears leaving tracks on my pale skin. I could taste the salt on my lips.
The sigh of my master was music to my aching ears. A sob escaped in utter relief because in that sigh I could hear him relenting; my master was willing to give my thoughts another chance to escape. From that moment on, it was like all my senses had more power; it was all too much to feel and see and hear that my mouth had no purpose.
He took me in his arms as was his routine, laying my head in his lap. His hands skitted across my face, pushing my hair out of my eyes and ever-so-gently drying my tears. Every caress electrified my skin. Once again I could feel that hint of love pushing at my emotions, but I suppressed it.
“My Myla.” he murmured. I could barely hear his voice over the rushing in my head. All my thoughts were pushing at the edge, desperate to get into his waiting hands. And with a gasp from the both of us, the connection was made and the process began.
It is near impossible to explain the feeling of having your thoughts stolen from you but it is another thing entirely to willingly give your thoughts over to someone else to keep for you. It almost seems like my soul itself cuts a piece of itself off and hands it to my master to protect. Immediately I felt a weight off my mind. My eyes – now dry – flew open. I was so close to my master, just a breath away. His eyes were still closed, his face still drawn in concentration, his golden hair slick with sweat. Unable to resist the temptation and riding on freedom’s high, I brought my lips to his.
After my master takes my thoughts from me, there is always a period of numbness. Of a lack of control, of helplessness. I suppose that is what brought me to take that risk. But his lips under mine felt so soft and his hands on my hips were so assured that it did not seem like a risk at all; it seemed like a safety that had been there all along.
It wasn’t me that broke the kiss, but him. He held my wispy memories in his hands, and they swirled in a condensed fog, occasionally separating to show a face, or lose a fragment of sound but it wasn’t much. I felt no remorse when my master tucked them into his pocket. I knew they were gone and that was all that mattered.
He seemed frail underneath me, all his strength from the moment before was gone. Taking my hands, I cradled his face in my palms.
“Master,” I began, but he cut me off.
“Luca.” he murmured.
“Luca.” I replied, testing it out on my tongue. The intimacy of his name didn’t feel right but he was my master, my lord. I did what he wanted.
But I hadn’t. I had put him in danger. All bets were off.
“I’m sorry.” I murmured, brushing his cheek with my lips.
“Don’t leave me, Myla.” he replied. But already the light in his eyes was fading. He didn’t have much longer. Regret began to burn in the back of mind; I had never wanted to take his life from him, but I needed the silence, the weightlessness of him taking my thoughts. And there was nothing much I could do now.
Bringing my lips back to his, I slipped the gun out of his pocket. The metal was chilled now, having time to cool off since the firing earlier. My master didn’t seem to notice, and the kiss deepened. Gently, with a slow precision, I pressed the barrel of the gun to his heart. He froze.
“Myla?” It was a question this time, my name sounding foreign. I pulled back enough to look him in the eyes.
“It is better to die quickly, my lord, than to lie here for eternity.” I spoke. Confusion filled his eyes. “You are hardly the first master of mine, dear Luca. Others possess your skill and I know the consequences of every action I take. I never meant to hurt you, but now I have no choice.” I told him, knowing that offered no real explanation. But with a pull of the trigger, he was gone. My act was done.
My head is not the only place in me that is filled with darkness. After decades of passing my thoughts onto receptive minds, my heart has become hardened and corrupt. I thought maybe Luca would be the one to melt me but that wasn’t fate’s desire.
I do wish I didn’t need the help of others, that I could live on my own, but I am far too selfish. Whilst others must bear the burden of their emotions alone, I can take the open minds of men and fill them up with the clutter of my fragile human thoughts. It is a cruel gift. I live a lonely existence; I can never become attached to my master.
But am I really the lowly servant? Or am I the master? When playing the game, it is too hard to tell. But looking from above, I see it all clearly; I control every aspect of my world. It is a dark, undefined maze of confusion. I do not know what brought me here. I do not know if I will leave. Even though I do not have my thoughts, I have my memories. And maybe the only way to move forward, is to move back.
But maybe I prefer to not move at all.
I move through the darkened halls of the palace, leaving the body of my former master and the former prince behind to be found by an unlucky slave, or maybe the king himself. I disappear into the night, seeking refuge. My body is my weapon, my thoughts my secret payment, my life is my curse. It is not long before I stumble upon a new master, a man who seeks enlightenment. To him, I am god-sent.
Nothing lasts; the world changes but I do not. I must adapt to it for this is where I am held, forever just a girl in search of her own mind but not able to hold herself inside. It is as if my mind is a box, built too small to contain what it was created to hold.
I will discover myself one day.
In the corners of my dark mind there is a soul.
One day I will find it.