A bit of a foreword: this is a stream of consciousness piece, somewhat (maybe not entirely, but it is an attempt). Basically, Garet's thoughts, as they happen. It will tend to be a list, there will be repetition, sentence structure and grammar will not make sense. Please, understand that all of these are intentional.

I hate caves. I'm pretty sure that wasn't mud that I just stepped in, considering all of these bats. Isaac. He's leading us through here. I don't know why. Some reason… I don't remember. He knows. Mia, Ivan, they know. Isaac knows. I call his name. Isaac. Isaac. He turns, his eyes are so cold. Like the sea, the Karagol. They are deep, never-ending. They frighten me. Were they always that way? I am asking him, whining, why are we going this way? His eyes are still so cold; I can't tell what he's thinking. They used to be warmer, with sparkle. Now he is older, his body tougher, more scarred. We are all so scarred. Ivan, Ivan… he was such a boy when we met him. Now…

Isaac says that we need to return to Kalay. Then, we go to Lunpa. A promise we made. To Ivan, to save Hammet. Hammet will not recognize him. Grime in every pore, muscles tense, an almost unnoticeable limp from a broken leg healed as fast as possible at the edge of a forest. His eyes are still bright, but so tired. He has not slept well, he has not eaten well, we are all so tired and hungry, yet we press on, Isaac carrying that little jewel, trying to find Felix, to rescue Jenna, to stop the lighthouses from being lit, to save the world.

My hand hurts so much. It has been hurting for a while. Mia has tried to heal it, even Isaac tried, though he is struggling, he knows his healing Psynergy could be stronger; there is something he is missing, something beyond a simple Cure. I think my wound may have been poisoned. The wound is closed, completely, with no scar, but it bites and itches, and pulses with an awful pain. We have no antidotes, and we are trying to conserve our strength, especially Mia, so I won't ask again. She heals us all, and it exhausts her, she trembles from the exertion so much that we are always afraid. But she smiles afterward, her smile is so pretty. She knows we love her smile, so she wears it always, but when she heals us, the pain goes away yet her anguish permeates us, leaks into our souls, and while she smiles we gasp with her pain.

It is very cold here. So cold… there are torches set into the walls, left by previous travelers, or maybe Babi's government, but they do nothing to warm the place. Tolbi. It was warm. There, we rested, sat by the fountain, watched the crowds. Isaac fretted, paced back and forth, Colosso and the world upon him, but we knew. He was happy, relaxing, in his way. In that city, surrounded by people, and food, and beds, the lighthouses seemed so far away, a dream. We were strange, I think. Our group, scarred heavily, filthy, sword-bearing. There, amongst those masses of innocent human beings. Those creatures, with no sense of their world, or of the events occurring, or of our own quest, scurried about. So futile. We are so alone. There are no people to help us, to understand, to commiserate. Alone. Us. I. Myself.

A noise, in the distance. I turn my head. Ivan, Mia, they look. Isaac does not turn until he sees us turn, his hearing is lost, lost to monsters, to an injury to the head, some internal damage that not even Mia could heal.

There is no cause for alarm, it is a harmless animal wandering. We continue. Onward. Onward. Always, forward, never backward, no time for rest, continue, keep going. And silence. Always silence. Isaac never speaks, Ivan's voice is never heard. We found it amusing once, his elevated tones ringing out always, his tongue bubbling with words and ideas, and grand plans. Now, his jabber cuts us, slices straight to the bone. He remains silent. I speak, only when necessary. I try, sometimes, to hang onto my words as they were once. I whine. I feign ignorance. They smile. I think, though, I think that it makes them sad, to remember me as I was, and thus to remember themselves as they were. Then, back then, a long time ago, we were different people. We reflected light, we shone, radiated, like polished mirrors. Now, we are black, and empty. We have no light of our own, we suck in the light of others, and hoard it, and pervert it, and it is never the same. It crumbles, turns to dust within us, dirtying us further. By the nature of this quest, this hellish journey, we sin simply by existing. We should not exist, creatures with souls blackened by the slime of the world.

Another noise. Another animal, making its way around. It is larger, some sort of cave-dweller. It is coming towards us, lumbering. A bear? My sword. My sword? I find it. I draw it. Don't come closer, I don't want to deal with this. Isaac's sword is drawn. He stands straight, focusing his vision ahead of him. His body is a rigid line, struck into the earth, he is immobile, he will not be moved. He has solidified, he is solid. He will not be bent, he will not be toppled, he can only be snapped.

Closer. Heavy footsteps, a rumbling, shaking in the cave. Scraping, scraping, an eerie mumbling in a voice mined from the core of the world. I use a spell, lighting the area, and it is there, shuffling towards us, its club dragging along the floor of the cave. Kobold. A great mass of green and brown, a jaw wide and with sharpened teeth, brute strength visible in every limb. It has seen us, it takes its time, knows we shall not move, understanding us, knowing us on the basest level, knowing us to be monsters as it knows itself.

Slowly closer. It comes, it is coming, here. It is here. The club swings, misses, we react, thousands of battles, we know what to do, that feeling, of knowing, of reacting without thinking, no thinking, we know, I know. The club again, its fist, my sword clangs off of its claws, I stumble, it roars, a horrible sound. My feeble light flickers, I know where it is, still. I hear it. Isaac. Isaac. I see him, he can barely see. The kobold, the creature, is there, he cannot hear, knows it is there but cannot tell exactly. I shout. Isaac, Isaac, Isaac! There! To your side! It is beside him, I am beside him, my feet moved, I didn't move them, they brought me there. Its club comes down, I hear a scream, Mia! Shouting, so much shouting, and something, my face, my head, something touched my face, I am falling, falling, and it is very dark…

It is light. Very light. Pure light, I am in pure light. Mia's Ply? No. I do not feel her pain. I do not feel any pain. I feel full, I feel bright myself, I remember this feeling, from being very young, and being held in my mother's arms, the sound of a voice singing me to sleep. It is so warm, so warm, I could sleep. I could sleep, and close my eyes, and stay here forever. I am here. Where was I before? I don't know. I don't know, I cannot… I cannot… I think I have been here forever. This is all I can remember…

Pain! Sudden pain, pain like I have never felt before, and it is darker, it grows darker, colder, darker, the pain, the pain! I want to scream, to scream until my lungs are shredded, scream until I am nothing but a shriek, until my voice devours me and there is no pain, because I am a bodiless sound, echoing though the cave. The cave, I am in the cave, the kobold, Isaac, Isaac, Isaac… this pain. I need to die, to die, or to go back to where I was, who stole me from there? This pain, I am this pain, it is me, my face, I don't have a face anymore, my face is pain.

It is gone, suddenly, but I feel it, I gasp. I hear myself gasp. I hear murmurs above me. Mia's face, twisted, Ivan, shocked, and Isaac. Isaac, his eyes wide with horror, staring at me, his mouth open, hanging. The feeling, the pain, it is still there. I cannot feel it but it is there, I remember it, I keep remembering it, it repeats, never-ending. I open my mouth, to ask what happened; I hear a whimper, a strangled sound that seems inhuman. Isaac is on his knees, his hands open in his lap, he is staring down at them, that same horror.

I hear him speak.

"Mia," he says. She does not reply. I am still the pain. I am regaining feeling, and every bit of me is screaming, every part of me remembers. Sound causes it, sight causes it, it will not go away.

"He was dead," he says. "I brought him back," he says.

I was dead. That light. I am dead now. I want to die now. That pain. I have felt pain, that was agony.

"Mia, when he came back. When he came back, his face. This is my new Psynergy? I shouldn't have brought him back. That face. That pain."

He brought me back. He gave me that pain. I'll kill him. That pain. He killed me. I am dead. His head, his hands, it falls into them. Mia is trembling. Ivan is crying softly, tears sticking in the small hairs on his chin. Isaac. He is dead. He is dead too. I died, he gave me life. But my face, the club… my skull was shattered, my face was broken, he revived me and she healed me, but the memory is there. Always.

We are huddled together. Four crumpled forms, together, in the darkness of the cave. We are heroes. We are saving the world. Our broken souls, our shattered dreams, these are the materials that will be used to create the foundation of the future we strive for. Our lives are insignificant next to the lives of the countless, indistinct masses. Our suffering, my pain, his grief; they are nothing. Two of us died today; we will never be revived.

So. I hope you enjoyed it, or at least found it somewhat different. Grammar mistakes, run on sentences, lists; these were intentional, as this is stream of consciousness. Somewhat. Definitely very internal monologue. I enjoyed writing it. I didn't think I could go back to writing GS fanfiction after my fifth botched attempt at writing The Thief of Vale, but I wanted to do something in a different vein and this is definitely in a different vein than that.

Anyways. Leave comments, whatever, advice is appreciated. My first real attempt at something like this, I'm not entirely sure I pulled it off effectively, but whatever. I could be worrying over nothing, or I could be underestimating how much I failed. Let me know. I'm interested to know what people think, but please, be intelligent, since there's no plot to speculate about could you let me know what worked or didn't work for you?

Thanks much.