Edit: This story began as a very small project many years ago and grew into something I neither anticipated nor knew how to handle. To this day, it remains one of the concepts that I am proudest of, and I know if it were not for this story, I would not have become the writer I am now. This fanfiction, over its long, long course, has taught me an incredible deal about character, setting, pacing, and plot-and even more about how words can be managed and manipulated.
I began this story as a very enthusiastic but not very talented young writer, and all the flaws in its execution and wording are blatantly apparent looking back. Particularly because I wish to complete this story one day (soon), but don't have time at the moment to make requisite revisions, please treat these early chapters kindly, as living examples of just how far I have come. In short: yes I know this story really needs an unspeakable amount of work. Bear with me.
Author's Notes: What's up? Sareh here. Well.. This is my first ever attempt at Dragon Knights fanfiction, so if it's absolutely terrible, be gentle okay? It's horribly short, but I promise things will get better! Well, I hope you like it!
Notes: This story is written entirely from Kharl's point of view TO Garfakcy. So, until further notice: Garfakcy "you".
Disclaimer: I'll do this seriously once because I'll feel bad if I don't. Kharl, Garfakcy, all the other characters, every place, and even much of the plot of this story belongs to one Mineko Ohkami. It is not my intention to gain any profit from writing this, other than the personal satisfaction that thinking about Kharl can bring.
Background Music: Tell Me What the Rain Knows (Maaya Sakamoto)
Red Tower Floor
One's life is like a cloak that cannot be removed. You wear it over who you really are... It shields you, it constricts your movements. By its graceful weaving patterns, it creates what others see. It can warn away or entice the world, depending on how it is sewn. And, in the end... The threads that held it all together dissolve slowly, one by one, until there is nothing left but many tangled strings of a once proud fabric.
If my life were a cloak, certainly, it would be riddled with the most minute of holes. Invisible to the eye and yet, at every interwoven lock, weakening the bonds that hold my being together. These tiny holes are the sins that have leaked their way into my life. There are many of those sins, I see now that I look up from the hem. That's where I am—at the end of a slowly unwinding cloth. And lying there, watching my cloak -my life- unravel in my hands, I wonder why… Why I did all the things I did. How I now regret those foolish things.
The first stitch of my cloak was sewn so long ago. Years? I have forgotten how many years, how many decades. The lands were different then, when I was first born. I don't remember a home or family. Youkai rarely do. After all, what demon builds a household? I laugh when I think this. They look at me; they stare at the blood that runs from the corners of my mouth. Even their whispers are muffled by the cold pain that claws at me. Only foolish youkai ever hope to lead a life with stability, with family... I was so full of foolish dreams.
I thought... I thought too much and learned too little. I spent so much time so selfishly. All the things I thought I did… All the things I thought I did for others, I did for myself. And I regret every choice I've made until now. I regret every life that I have taken, and every life that I have created. I have never tried to prove the existence of a "Heaven". Why would I have wasted my time on such a thing? Surely I—abandoned, scorned, despised, drenched in the blood of so many—surely I will never see a holy place. I told myself that I cared nothing for that land of eternal peace. I told myself that I would never fall, would never fail: that I would never need to stand on the ground before the gates of death. I was immortal. Foolish lies.
Worry, anxiety, care. I do not understand the way those feelings have been cascading into my veins so unnoticed. I once thought myself immune to those petty things. I was a fool. Before... Before I thought only of my own heart, my own desires. The way I bloodied my hands—killing and creating, blackening the souls of others so that they too could share my pain... I was so selfish—a sinner. And my greatest regret of all, my greatest sin was you. I can beg forgiveness for murdering, for poisoning, for possessing. But I cannot ask forgiveness for corrupting the heart of a child. I cannot ask for forgiveness for the stains of blood I added to your hands; for the horrors I made you endure, the carnage, massacre. The battles I made you witness, the injuries I let you take for me. Your heart, once so close to pure, was spoilt by my hands—my hands that caused so much destruction. I gave into foolish desires.
And as I, Kharl, the one they call the Renkin Wizard, lie on the Red Tower floor, staining the bright tiles crimson, I whisper only one thing. I whisper it to all of them, they who watch me with slitted eyes, and to him with the Light. But most of all, I whisper to you, you who let me sin unwittingly. I whisper, swallowing the copper taste of blood-