In the predawn hours, when the world is awash in onyx and silver, the shadows swallow me and I bathe in their shroud. The wind is an unconstrained child twisting my cloak up and pulling at my braids. My gaze is deliberating the murky depths at the bottom of the castle battlements upon which I stand. If the Maker exists, I wonder if my spirit is too vile for even his forgiveness. It's an important question to ponder at this moment.
My name is Neria Surana, my tale is about to begin anew, or end in the black pit below my feet.
My eyes are pulled upwards, drawn to the luminous tower. It's hundreds of miles away, but it looms close enough in my mind to block out the moon and stars. Its windows open in a succession of shattered glass, and I imagine voices wailing in agony. Their cries release in smoky fingers that find perch in the broken crevices of my heart, and squeeze the air from my chest. My lungs cough up a sob.
Once, not long ago, a spirit named herself Sorrow. Her words are a soft repeated whisper of rebuke in moments like these, when I feel the pull of death. If she is Sorrow, I am the product of her rutting with Fury.
There was a time when betrayal, murder, demons and such were only found in books, and then spoken about in awe-filled whispers to my best friend. My only friend, really. But Jowan and I learned of betrayal first hand, his betrayal of me, and my repayment in kind. I wonder, for the thousandth time, if my betrayal ended in his death, or if he is somewhere in that luminous tower, a man without a soul, checking inventory in stoic silence - living and breathing, but not being. My regret would only be his death, for I would envy the peace of dreamless nights and emotionless days that comes with being made tranquil.
Betrayer. Words should sound as bleak as their meaning. Treacherous is the better word. It forms with a bite of the teeth and a twist of the mouth. "I am Treachery, daughter of Sorrow and Fury." I shout into the wind. I laugh, a soft sweet musical sound, and that too is lost in a blast of frenzied air. The incongruous, delicate sound that spills forth from my black soul draws even more laughter.
"Come down from there child."
My back straightens at the gentle order. It is my voice who commands, not hers. "Not anymore," a voice whispers in my head. The blight is over and she is free of my control. Another laugh escapes at the thought of mage with moments tick by. I look down into the dark, it beckons.
"What has happened to him, Wynne?"
"I will not have a discussion with you teetering on that ledge, laughing like a lunatic."
I turn to see the worry in her eyes, her strong hands point at the ground. Grudgingly, I step down from the ledge.
I am immediately enveloped in the warmth of her embrace. Wynne's soft hands stroke my hair and I sigh with resignation.
As the dawn thrusts the shadows into the earth, the sun infuses my body with a second warm swathe.
My story has ended.
My story begins.