No, not silence. There is screaming, just at the edge of hearing. Whether it is a man or a woman, I cannot tell.
I can feel a dull sensation in my right arm. I think it is the ache of movement. I'm in a battle? Something is gripped in my hand. It's a handle, I think. A sword? An axe? Perhaps a bow?
There is something else, trickling down my body. Is it blood? Am I wounded? But I don't feel any pain. Then again, I cannot see myself.
Who am I?
I think I remember my name. It's just on the tip of my tongue.
But it escapes me. Maybe it will come back to me.
The darkness persists. The silence, however, is broken by a deep rumbling. It sounds like laughter, but I might be wrong. It sounds like a growl, but I might be wrong.
It crescendos. Triumph or rage? Glee or desperation?
Perhaps all of them. Or none.
What am I?
I want to say human, but there is something else. Something violent, destructive, filled with hatred and malice. It's also…
Alien. It defies true understanding, and I can only guess.
It is more than human, more than mortal. But at the same time, it is lesser than those.
There is a will behind the bloodlust, but it is confused, directed only by its need to endlessly kill and…
I'm not sure where that thought came from. It wasn't from the Instinct, and it wasn't from me.
Perhaps it was me, and the Instinct is clouding my mind. If I can control it, maybe I can remember.
What is my name?
My name is…
The Other stirs. Its animalistic mind senses my intent. It struggles mightily, and my will falters for a moment. But in that moment, a memory seeps through.
What am I?
I was -am- a protector, a warden.
Of people, of animals, of nature. Of Life itself.
I am a murderer born and bred, my heritage causing me to kill again and again. I am a child of the darkness, whom many have tried to slay.
I am a guardian nurtured and raised, my upbringing urging me to be a savior. I am a harbinger of the light, who makes his own fate.
The memory burning in me, I surge forward, surprising the Instinct. More memories come through.
A tall, broad-shouldered man with a purple tattoo on his head, and a small rodent in his hands. His muscles are obvious, even through the chainmail, and his scars reach up to his bald head. An enormous sword is strapped to his back. A name comes with the image.
Minsc. The ever-vigilant guardian, the heart-broken warrior. The Eternal Companion.
I strike at the Darkness, forcing it to recoil.
Pink hair. A glowing smile, untouched by the horrors of the world. A petite woman, with knives aplenty and magic crackling at her fingertips.
Imoen. The little sister, the optimist. The Eternal Child.
It hits back.
A man, tall and broad like Minsc, but older. His hair and goatee are greying, and a wry smile tugs at his scarred visage. He is adorned in orange plate armor, and he wields a weapon that radiates righteousness.
Keldorn. The crusader, the guide. The Eternal Teacher.
Gathering my strength, I wrestle the Instinct to the "ground."
The gauntleted hand and eye of Helm emblazoned on his armor's pauldron. A shield bared proudly. A face of arrogance, but eyes of sadness and regret.
Anomen. The disillusioned, the mourner. The Eternal Avenger.
I punch the Instinct, again and again and again. It is weakening, but not enough. I still don't remember my name.
A long crooked nose hangs over a wild bristle that somewhat resembles a beard. A pair of goggles that appear to serve no purpose. A set of tools working on yet another unknown device, and over-engineered armor and weaponry.
Jan. The inventor, the faker. The Eternal Trickster.
Then the Instinct scratches my arms with its claws, drawing blood.
Long, flowing blonde hair, with feathers and beads tied into it. Pointed ears poke out from the curtain of gold. Inquisitive, but shy, blue eyes looking at me from a tattooed face. Scars on her back and a thin frame. Fear when she looks at me, but not of me. Of rejection. Joy when she looks at me, for she has found home instead of slavery.
Aerie. The broken angel, the fettered. The Eternal Lover.
I have my voice back. I scream at the Instinct as I strike at it, "Who am I?"
It does not respond. It does not want to. It does not have to. It is not able to.
My knuckles are bloody, but I don't know whether it is mine or the Instinct's. But it does not matter. I am dominant now.
The Instinct strikes, but I catch its arm effortlessly. I am stronger now. Its demonic visage is bleeding, its face showing pain. Its own torments are reflected back upon it. It is too weak to oppose me now.
All of my memories flow back into me as I siphon them off of the Instinct. I bask in the sensation.
I know my name.
I am a child of Bhaal, the lord of murder, one of many.
I am a ranger, the guardian of the woods and nature, favored of Mielikki. My skill with sword and bow have become renowned along the Sword Coast, as have my deeds.
I am the hero of Baldur's Gate, and slayer of my half-brother Sarevok. I have attracted the attention of Faerun's powers.
I am the friend of Minsc, the brother of Imoen, the student of Keldorn, the advisor of Anomen's grief, the victim of Jan's insanity, and the lover and savior of Aerie.
My name is Kristoff Gorionson. And I am not slave to my Instinct.
A/N: This is just something I did for fun while I was playing through Baldur's Gate, arguably one of my favorite games. Yes, I realize that there are only six spots in the party including the PC, but Jan Jansen is just awesome. Come on, admit it. This party is essentially what I had during my own run through, minus Jan. It kicked ass, and took some names, but mostly kicked ass.