Esper

Freedom's Price

The night air near the docks was chill, scents of fish and stale beer assaulting Wailan’s senses. A smell, usually revolting, was the sweet harmony of freedom to this shadowy figure. Standing in the darkened alley beside this tavern, Salty Pete, Wailan observed the late night adventures of the taverns patrons. He had partook in some of those adventures this night, bad food and worse drinks, and amorous quests partaken with plenty of willing wenches. And, though the food was far from good, and his other activities far from the best experiences, tonight they felt like heaven sent, as he was experiencing them as a free man.

Shadows slowly seemed to shift, moving like liquid darkness to form a faceless entity to stand next to him. Wailan did not react, having seen this happen far too often, nor did he recoil in fear, as this being no longer had hold over him. A voice, if it could be called such a thing, more an unnatural whisper, the sound of a whetstone slowly being drawn across a blade, emitted from the featureless shadow being. “Wailan, I see you finally freed yourself from my grasp, and have chosen to, once again, place yourself in the affairs of mortals.”

Sighing, though with a slight smirk, Wailan responded, his eyes never shifting to the dark presence. “For as long as I can remember, I have been bound to your services, fulfilling your whims, directing Essence to stab at the heart of Gods and Mortals alike. But once, long ago, I was a hero. And I am not even referring to my time amongst the War Wolves, and our battles against the evils of Loreun. But, from my childhood, when my love for Espana, drove me to murder her parents, and free her from the clutches of her lecherous father. For years, the subjected, tortured, and drove me into the dirt, but I never lifted a finger against them. But, when I found out about what they were doing to their own child, lovely Espana, I acted. I thought that I was corrupted, because I took pleasure in their deaths. I sent Espana away from me, because, I believed my acts to be monstrous. I filled my life with more death, killing those who prayed upon humanity and there was true pleasure and thrill with every slice of my blade. And, it was then that I tricked myself into believing that I was evil, foul, an unnatural abomination. But, then I saw true evil,and fought true evil. And I saw true honor and glory. And, I discovered, I was not evil. Chaotic, yes! A harbinger of deaths whisper, most definitely. But not evil. For, the one act I had committed, when I was truly young, had been because I loved Espana, and only wished to free her from her pain. The pleasure I felt for her parants death was not the pleasure of death itself, but because I was granting freedom to the one I loved, and ridding the world of two demon humans. So, I had been a hero from a young age. Even as your blade in the dark, I took satisfaction, for the beings I killed were always the vile sort, who thought by using the essence of your shadows, they could elevate themselves into greatness. People fear the darkness, always blaming the shadows as the true evil. But, I know your truth, Light and Shadow. Night and Day. Order and Chaos. Two sides of the same coin. Not adverse properties, or struggling entities, but complements of each other. Without the light, one could not cast a shadow, and with out the empty void of dark, light could not shine. I, am the blade of chaos, I bring the truth of that forth. Others are the word of order, and bring forward those laws. Alone, both are testaments are lies, fallacies of lesser understanding. But together, our words become truth, because it forms the fabric of reality. A millennia and once over of servitude to you, has taught me the truth of that.”

Wailan pauses, his face finally moving to stare at the figure of shadows. “But now, reality itself is again threatened, not by chaos, which is my trumpet, but by corruption. And I must stave off that corruption and do what chaos is meant to do, reflect and instill order.” another chuckle escapes his lips.

The wispy shadows shift, the raspy unnatural voice emitting once more. “So Wailan, Blade Dancer. Slicer of Kalenport, Slayer of Gods, Shadow Hand, Trickster, Dark Sword, and thousands of other names, do you finally see the truth?”

Wailan’s smile, gleaming brightly widens, a vision of mirth, but also and unsettling visage of chaotic expression. “Yes, and I have known so all along, hidden in my very mind.” the shadowy image slowly fades, as Wailan continues, the realizations finally coming full into his mind. “You did not exist. I am chaos unbridled. The chains on me were always my own making. I am Lord of Shadows.”

The night fading away, as the dawn’s sun peaks over the horizon, Wailan steps onto the road, walking into the light for the first time for almost eternity.

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