Foreshadow of Memory
The words had echoed in his mind for what seemed like ages after they'd been said. And they'd left him in thought, trying to sort out his memories, which now seemed so much more important than they had been before the voice had spoken to him. He had questions, but there was a small glimmer of hope that somehow, this would help him.
The voice hadn't returned in some time, and that silence had helped the processing of his memories.
He knew he had died. That much was abundantly clear. He just couldn't remember or imagine how he had died, beyond a feeling of satisfaction and pride. That in and of itself gave him comfort; he knew that he had died with purpose.
With those realizations came subtle amounts of light. The darkness surrounding him was thick, but not thick enough that light couldn't cut it. He was satisfied with this , even that realization was not enough to satiate his need for a single answer.
The identity of the woman in his mind was confounding him.
Who are you?
Nothing answered him immediately, and if he could've, he would have sighed. There were other questions he had, and just as many spaces in which answers would've fit perfectly.
I'm a friend, Auron. But, I can't give you anything you are not ready for.
Not ready for…? What did she mean? He began to feel a mild sense of irritation as he thought suddenly that perhaps… he was being played with. And more than anything else, he knew one thing.
He refused to be a pawn.
I only wish to help you. I have no interest in toying with your mind, and I am only allowed the control you allow me to have.
How can I trust you? I have never even met you.
Listen to you heart. And if that fails you, listen to your instincts. If they tell you I'm not to be trusted, then I'll leave you.
It made sense; it was safe. The simple fact that she was in his mind, and he could force her out with a thought did bring him comfort. And she did say she'd leave if he asked. And if all she wanted to do was to help him…
What sort of assistance can you offer a dead man?
There was no answer immediately, and again, he closed his eyes. Her random bouts of silence were frustrating, to say the least.
What makes you believe with such confidence that you are dead?
A simple question, he might even call it safe.
I remember my death. That summoner sent me… whatever that means.
The summoner. Tell me her name.
He stopped. Yet another question that he could not give her light to.
I don't remember.
Try. The summoner who sent you was…
He focused his whole being on her question. He could do no less. The woman in question was the daughter of his friend… Br…aska? He shook his head, trying to shake a memory loose.
And suddenly, it was there.
Yuna. Her name was Yuna Kaname.
He felt immensely pleased with himself. He'd remembered part of his life; the name of the summoner who had sent him. And while he still had no idea exactly what it meant to be "sent," he thought it made sense that it helped him pass from living to death.
Do you wish to be dead, Auron?
No, of course not! I just know that there's nothing I can change of it!
His answer was immediate, angry, but also mildly resigned. He knew that death was permanent, unchanging, unyielding. Once one had experienced its sting, one would not return.
Please consider what I am about to tell you. Once again, remember, I am a friend. If you wish me gone, I will leave without hesitation. And if you allow me to help you, then I will without question. If you offer me the opportunity, I will help you find out why.
If possible, he would've scowled. The woman spoke in riddles, and it was aggravating. But, once again his curiosity got the best of him.
Auron, look around you. You don't remember it all, but try. Is this what death is; a darkening abyss? Slowly but surely losing everything you know and value of your life? Is this what you were taught in your childhood?
He focused; fighting through the pain the memories brought him. And suddenly, he realized with a start that the woman was correct. There was nothing about this that seemed like natural death. But…
If I am not dead, then what am I?