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I awake standing up.

I do not know who I am, where I am, or even what I am. It’s dark here, very dark. I can’t feel anything. A few seconds seem to pass. Suddenly, I can see. I am in a prison cell, surrounded by stone and iron. I feel strange, like I’m changing, but I only stare straight ahead, unconcerned.

After a few minutes, I remember my unimportant name, the simple clothes I wear, and even what my facial features look like, although I do not have a mirror.

I turn around, finding a door made of iron bars in front of me. A short old man is in the cell opposite mine, and he speaks in mocking tones. As I hear more voices coming from the stairs to the right of my cell, he tells me I will die in my cell. I wonder if I should feel fear, although I feel nothing.

Guards come; they say I should not be here. They open the door when I stand back, but even though the open door provides an exit, I do not try and utilize it, even though I know I was made to run.

A man in fine clothes approaches me. He tells me that my destiny is intertwined with his, and that the gods gave him visions of his future. I scoff; fore I remember that I have no love for the gods, although the reason still escapes me.

The man, the ruler of this province, bids me to come with him as he flees assassins. The guards disapprove, but I go anyway through a hidden door in my cell, excitement rushing through me. As I go along and attempted assassinations are thwarted by the guards, I find that I can sneak up on the would-be killers and slit their throats with the dagger I found on one of them, even though I feel remorse and guilt at my deeds at killing another living creature, evil or not. But after a few minutes, the ruler asks me who I am. I remember now; I am a thief, a murderer, and my guilt and remorse are replaced with a smile as I lie to him and mimic the humble words of a hero.

From no doing of mine or his, I am separated from the ruler, his distrustful guards allowing me to go with them no further through a tunnel designed for only them, so I fight the creatures I find on another path, becoming surer of myself with every minute. As I go, I feel less afraid, feeling more invincible every time I stop to rest.

Finally, after what seems like hours, I find the guards and the ruler again, and I travel with him through his final hours. Near the end of the tunnel and the beginning of the city sewers, I stay with the ruler while the guards scout around us, feeling somewhat protective of the old man for reasons I do not know, when an assassin steps out from a hidden door in the wall.

I watch as he stabs the ruler, surprised but not afraid. I kill the assassin with ease, although more for his rations and potions than justice. Despite my protective feelings the ruler’s death does nothing to me. But when I think about that day, the last words of the ruler, the Emperor, echo within my mind.

“Give the amulet to Jauffre, find my son. Find him… And close shut the jaws of Oblivion.”

...

Written by: The Crimson Lullaby

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