Written for a challenge on LJ where the challenge was to write a drabble/ficlet re-using the first line of another fanfic written by a friend. When I saw this first line ('You rode a white horse.') the ficlet pretty much wrote itself. It was actually only supposed to be a hundred words or so, but I've always planned to write something about the significance of Fye's tattoo as well as why he pretty much refuses to use his powers now that he no longer has the tat. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has drawn a connection between these two factors, and this ficlet was pretty much the result.
All reviews, crit and thoughts welcome!
Of White Horses and Their Riders.
You rode a white horse. Powerful and lean, gleaming like snow. No one in my village had ever seen such a beast, one meant for show and pomposity, so unlike the simple and broad workhorses that worked our fields. I remember the horse vividly, perhaps more than I remember you, on that day we first met. I had naturally been banished to the stables during your visit, far away from where I could cause potential harm. There was always the chance that you would invite yourself into one of the houses, into my family's house, and possibly here the soft cries of a child who rarely ever cried out loud or broke the verbal bonds set upon him, but a child who was known for nothing if not his unpredictable behaviour.
But it wasn't my nature that was unpredictable, not really. It was more the powers that I had never had a chance to learn how to control, brought up far from the magic schools within the cities, and instead in a small country town that had initially revered it's first child of magic in over 300 years, and then grew to despise it as those powers refused to stay latent. I wonder if that would surprise you, knowing that I had been their golden boy before I became their tarnished stain. You never saw my downfall, just the mess of a child that somehow survived it.
It's funny, how accidently burning down the school can cause others to be weary of you. Or how your suddenly not quite so popular after freezing the entire harvest, creating a food shortage that you small village never properly recovers from.
It was when, at age seven, I had somehow managed to kill three of my classmates that they decided I should be locked away, far beneath the ground. Murderer. Animal. Monster. Wide eyes pleaded innocence, but blood soaked into fertile soil told no lies. Neither did the small group of terrified witnesses. I cannot even now remember exactly what happened, I can only remember the pain of their taunts and the terror that always came when they would advance, just so.
I remember the darkness that followed. I suppose that one might find it strange that I can remember in so much detail what was basically a blanket of black that was occasionally shot through with a sliver of muted grey when food was slipped in. But there is more to darkness than mere colour, and as time wears, it stops being simply the paint on the walls and the floor and the air, and starts to become a part of you that no amount of sunshine can ever properly drive away.
You took me from that darkness, the afternoon you visited. What I didn't realise for years was that you gave me not freedom or light in return, but a different kind of prison altogether.
The visitors were surprised when you could tell that the rebuilt school had once been touched by magic, just as they were astounded when you knew why the crops had been poor. What you had not known was that a child was responsible, or so you told me, afterwards. I can remember still the first time you sat me down and told me of how you had demanded to meet the young boy whose unrestrained power already matched that of some of your mages back in the palace. How, the villagers who had been so dedicated to hiding me from him had then had to reveal me, in all my dishevelled and destroyed entirety.
And then we rode away, you and I on your brilliant white horse. A castle far away became home, and your markings were etched onto my back, giving me a control and restraint over my powers that I had never held. You taught me how to smile, and I would have given you anything - which was perhaps fortunate, as you asked for everything. I had spent the last few years of my youth in eternal night, aged 10 I did not read your intentions as well as I possibly could of.
But then, I was only 10. Don't all 10 year olds who are locked, almost forgotten, in a basement for years on end wish to be rescued by someone whose motives are nothing more complicated than helping out a troubled soul? Do 10 year olds even know of motives that are hidden and impure?
I had certainly never known desire. Yet, it grew to define our relationship. No. I suppose it always defined it. You desired first my magic, lust burning behind quiet eyes as you pondered exactly how you could shape it to your advantage. As I grew older, the lust remained just as quiet, but took me beyond the realms of magic and into your bed.
I wasn't quite so naive by then, but I had decided I was in love with you, and that you obviously felt the same way in return. That was how it was supposed to work, deep within your castle of ice and magic. But I am, at heart, an intelligent person who only believes in self-delusion to a certain point, and I can be rigidly practical sometimes over the most unpractical of emotions. It may have taken years to see through the illusions that you wrapped me in, but they were only years, not the lifetime you had planned.
You never noticed when the smile you had always been responsible for became false.
When you were overthrown by those who could no longer live under your dark tyranny, your kingdom left tattered beyond any reasonable repair, I aided those who tried to destroy you. It was the magic that you had given me control over that destroyed much of the castle, and it was that same magic that locked you a deep sleep that only time can awaken you from.
It is that magic which will take me far from here, hopefully beyond your reach - and your revenge - when time relents.
You look almost the same, frozen here beneath this lake I created, as that day I first met you. A day I shall never forget, even as I travel far from this place. Your robes had been of the finest blue dashed through with gold, and you wore a smile that shone golden in a world that had been dark for so very long.
And you rode a white horse. But you were the blackest of knights.