In the Shadow of Choice (Derick Story)

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Derickkeyman
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In the Shadow of Choice (Derick Story)

Post by Derickkeyman » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:49 pm

In the Shadow of Choice

Hero. Noun. A person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities. Derick remembered, from a life that seemed long past now, that Xanni had once called him a hero. Xanni had once believed that Derick was a pirate in shining armor saving her from the cold climate that the War of the Deceiver had brought. To Xanni, up until the day she was speared into a tree using her own dagger, Derick had been her savior and her father. And in late night conversations with warm milk and muffins concerning magical studies and boys, she had never once neglected to mention that Derick was her hero.

Every time she did that, he had to hold back tears.

He couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

Inside the mausoleum that was Xanni’s final resting place, Derick was sitting against a wall, drinking. Small bitter dew drops of tears ran down his cheeks, traversing the scarred masses of skin and forests of brownish grass. His disgustingly matted hair hung down to his eyes, concealing their redness from no one. Around him was a semi-circle of empty bottle that seemed to close in on him with every sip and gain in numbers with every tear. These were the depths of depression. Heroes didn’t feel depression, did they?

Xanni had admired him for what he had done, but there were so many more who despised him. Ever since his first day at Black Gate, when he’d stepped out of the Waves and onto the shores of the war torn plane, Derick had made enemies. There were so many, and as the years went by and Derick worked odd jobs on the ship yards and on the ships, he had made more enemies. He was a drinking, gambling, brawling mess. To any sane person, Derick Keyman was not a hero. Heroes didn’t give into base temptations, did they?

After Xanni’s death, he had found himself drifting through life. He floated across the temporal stream, the air beneath his wings was a mixture of outright denial and repressed emotions. He lost track of himself, where he was going, what he was heading for. And only once it was too late, he found himself in the Jaws of Decay. Decay. Heroes didn’t decay, did they?

Not the ones who have statues made of them, at any rate.

What hurt him the most was that he, not even deep down, didn’t regret what he had done, what he was doing. He couldn’t bring himself to feel empathy for the one he’d wronged most recently. He couldn’t feel anything but apathy for her pain, for the mental torture of rearing a bastard child in her womb. Derick didn’t drink to make the emotions go away; he drank to try and dredge some emotions up. He drank to give himself life, or maybe take it away since he really didn’t deserve it.

Derick couldn’t justify his own existence. He had fought sin only to court sin. He courted sin only to mate with sin. And now, he had mated with sin to breed more sin. He had fought and fucked through his entire life, and he couldn’t help but feel the empty eye sockets that lie within the tomb stare at him. They were empty because of him. They were empty because of who he had chosen to make deals with. Hadn’t Xanni’s first lesson as a ritualist been to not trust the promises of a demon nor the truths of an angel? Derick wondered why he hadn’t taught himself that long ago.

And in the subsequent alcohol induced sleep, all Derick dreamed of was one simple phrase. A truth that he had been running from for the entirety of his life. The truth that would bind him in the shackles of freedom and break him down, atom by wasted atom.

I’m not really a hero, am I?
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