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SweetCyanide

love is a rebellious bird

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I: BEFORE. 


 Ursa Madeum [? WTA]

Pluto has been confused his entire life.

I scratched that sentence out with lots and lots of ink after I realized how stupid I sounded writing in the third person. Sometimes I wish I had a circulatory system to express just how deeply embarrassed I am.

Ahem,

I have been confused my entire life.  

Many, many years ago I woke up in the wheat fields of Hildebrand. I still have no recollection as to why and how—what I am—and, why I am so different from everybody else. All I knew that day is that I was taken into their home, given a name, and was formally brandished to serve the Hildebrands. Presumably for the rest of my life, as implied by Lord Strom. It’s been bugging me these days why I’ve never questioned that.

“Many-eyes, saw all; many-limbed, touched all; many-minds, knew all,” I muttered, writing down my every word in the journal on my lap. The light coming from the big window in the library is still cold, though I suppose it’s because I woke up hours before breakfast to sneak into the library this morning just to read this book. Stomach against the wooden floor, I prop myself up on one elbow and tippity-tap my feather pen.

I found this particular book in the library yesterday while I was cleaning the shelves (don’t tell anyone), and it was hidden in the far back, eaten by all the cobwebs and the dust rabbits. At first glance, it was quite mysterious. But I decided to take a closer look. Its cover had been torn off, the edges were all chewed on, and all I found inside were contents about the ‘anomalies’ in Terrenus. Despite its appearance, though it may sound strange, it's probably quite popular or something. It has a publisher and even says ‘general guide’ on the front page underneath some stains.

Still, I’m a tad bit surprised that a book like this managed its way into the gardening section. Most books we have here are about plants. Or farming. Or gardening. 

I tried to recover most of the information here as much I could. Sadly, most of the pages in it have been eaten by the pest problem we’re having this year. When I opened it, a big moth flew out and attacked me. I still need to take care of that bloody pest problem.  

Argh, enough about bugs. I'm quite thrilled to be pardoned today!  I never get this much spare time in the manor, being a responsible retainer and whatnot.

When I do get spare time—I always spend it roaming around the gardens and looking at the flowers. Sitting by a creek and watching the frogs croak. But everybody knows that. The truth is, I like to spend more time at the library; reading books about the island and what lies beyond the island. Iyalon likes to tease me about it, but I never get to venture outside of the manor. Someone like me would be killed the moment I step outside.

One day, when the Tyrant King chokes on his own tongue and dies a horrible death, I’m going to venture outside the walls.

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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II: WHAT ELSE. 


Ursa Madeum [? WTA]

Lady Aspen has suggested documenting strange experiences. Or occurrences that happen to me regarding my... peculiar ability. It was a splendid idea! I never thought of doing that. I only like writing in my journal because it’s fun.

Onwards:

I haven’t a clue what I am. I look human, but there’s nothing human-like about me at all. My skin is made of... ceramic layers, as explained by Lady Aspen; it’s as if a sculpture had come to life, she said, except I'm a sculpture who bleeds gold. Blood that I can control, manipulate, form into what I want it to form. Like
a bladeor something as simple as a rabbit. It bothers me that everyone thinks I might use these qualities to commit evil; murder, they said. Which is, truly, rude. I would never do that! I may be somewhat part of the Orchid and that means I must kill at one point in my life, but the fact remains clear. I would never kill in favor of evil.

Eranyways, moving on

This might sound strange, but, I feel pain? I know that sounds silly, but it’s really true. I can't feel texture, I can't breathe, I can't smell. You might get the gist of it, but... 

One day, I was out in the fields, and stumbled upon a baby crow. Poor thing must've fallen out of its nest. It must've been sick, too, because it died in my hands. Then a flock of crows thought I'd murdered their baby, and ravaged poor me. It was the first time I'd ever felt pain, I think. Blasted devils pecked out my eye, and, before I knew it, left me with scratches and cracks and holes. Lord Jasper found me, and I was surprised to see he cared. He took me to Lady Aspen to fix me up. She didn't know how to fix me up, though. I think she tried to put me together with glue.

That was when I earned the name, Golden Crow. Lord Jasper thought it up as a joke because, you know, the crows pecked me to death. And knowing Lord Jasper, he and his sister were well on their way to destroying the laboratory. I managed to stop them from toppling over a shelf of tools when I said I liked the name I didn't really like. It stuck, so I'm stuck with it now. It sounds nice if you don't know the meaning behind it. 

And then, the next day while I was training in the Silver Halls, Iyalon, er, killed me. On accident. Shirin was also there to witness everything.

I didn't feel pain at all this time. I only remember the quick blur of a sword and, everything went dark. When I least expected it, I woke up to Lady Aspen staring down at me from above. As it turned out, I'd been decapitated! (Goodness, I must have traumatized everyone,) Only when my head was placed back, I woke up.  

So came another discovery. If I could be broken, I could be put back piece by piece.

I trained harder after that. I'd experienced death! I don't want to die again.

But, er, I admit, the days after that, my experiences with shattering had become much... much more worse. I fell from the library’s ladder, a horse bucked me into splinters after I saved Lord Nairne, I once chopped off my hand while trying to chop a steak, and, yes, so on and so forth.

If I could be broken, and put back together, piece by piece
thendoesn't that mean? I can't die, can I? This begged for more questions.

What about the gold in my veins? I only use it for fun, maybe fascinate others who fear the way I mold it. If I'm not human, what else is there to me? If I'm immortal, am I really just a servant? Bound to washing dishes, dusting paintings, getting rid of termitesall my life..?

I find that disappointing.

Edited by SweetCyanide

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III: YOU TOO, WOULD... 


[? WTA]

Today, this afternoon, Lord Jasper has requested that I come with him to the Greywoods.

The Greywoods!

Here I was, playing house with young Suri and her aunties, when he pounced upon me like a tiger and gallantly said: Pluto, won't you come with me to the Greywoods?

My mouth dropped. Luckily, nobody heard him. Thank the gods nobody heard.

I was in the middle of plucking dandelions and daisies for flower crowns! I certainly would have preferred that he had me go fetch a rose from a secret hidden garden in the manor or whatever to give his newly beloved wife. Ireally, and I digress, really, don't like the Greywoods.

Something's not right about this. The Greywoods? What's my lord going to do? He isn't daft. Maybe he'll throw a stick into the forest and tell me to go play fetch. Strange as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised if he told me to do that. It's Lord Jasper, for crying out loud.

And if it's Lord Jasper, I can't refuse. He's either going to make me feel bad... or... make me feel bad.

I've known that he's looked upon the Greywoods for quite some time, particularly with this look in his eyes that I can't quite describe. I can't quite describe it because I don't know how to tell the difference between an innocent shine of curiosity or the glint of a sharpened blade. As I went along with him to the stables, my imagination run rampant. Jasper was drawn to the woods, and I didn't know what to do.

Despite my cautious feeling, dare say it's suspicion, we arrived at the Greywood. After hours of horseback, we were greeted by a welcoming sight. Too welcoming, I say. 

The entrance was sunkissed by white sunlight, a line of orange-red trees parallel to each other as it descended further into a decay of darkness. The trail has been left so untouched for so many years that I can faintly tell the prints left by those who challenged these woods. It looked beautiful. We stood at a point where the plains connected to the path so our horses were not surrounded by its trees, but even then, at this distance...

It radiated danger. 

The wind is a dying moan. Silent, Lord Jasper and I bask in the ambience of rustling leaves and animal calls. Bird songs and tree groans. Hushed whispers and fake promises. The Greywood plays tricks on the mind; it wasn't a surprise that even our horses were beginning to feel a bit queasy.

I run my glove down my horse's shoulder, and, find myself staring into a the Greywoods. I'm waiting for my lord to suggest that I go in and take a look around, to say that I should go fetch his stick or whatever. Worse case scenario, it ends up as him going to take a look around, and I, in no place to tell him not to do so, would stay seated on my horse as my lord slowly succumbs to the fate that befell his ancestors.

But when I look up at him, I find that the mischief in his eyes have completely run dry. Desaturated, almost. As he looks into the Greywood, it's like he's not even here. Instead of moving forward, he's frozen in place. He's somewhere else, where the trees have pulled him into the woods. He's completely fixated.

I open my mouth to say something, but then: a small bird swoops down from above and flies straight into the Greywood; not a single chirp to be heard, not a single feather to be seen. Eaten alive the moment it flew inside. Anxious, I wonder,

Do monsters really exist in the Greywood? 

"Do you feel that," Jasper suddenly asks, almost absently in his quiet words. It takes a few seconds for me to notice that he’s said anything at all.

“Hm?” I glance back and forth. “Feel what?”

A pause. Like he's leaving me to figure it out. Jasper’s gaze now pivots to me, staring as he did so. "There is a call that tugs in my chest, when I look upon the Greywood. Varda has felt the same, she's told me."

He hums, looking back to the tree line a scant few paces away. "Perhaps it has something to do with our lineage."

For a moment, I sit silent. I don't ever recall a Lady-Hildebrand being seduced by the calling of the Greywood, but I suppose the thought of any Hildebrand wandering into the woods is undoubtedly alarming. Much more Lady Varda, the pinnacle of innocence despite being the oldest of her sisters.

"I recall the ancestors that once trekked through the Greywood," I turn to look at my lord, "they all turned...”

I gesture with my hand around my head. Only then does mischief slowly grow in his eyes, like the found amusement in my discomfort of having to imply that he would, too, grow insane. He seems to understand completely, giving me his crooked smile, unable to help that wicked grin spreading across his face.

"None do."

My attention fades from him, and I look away.

“I don’t trust the Greywood.”

"Is this your way of advising me not to enter it, Pluto?"

“If I may be so bold, milord," I inhale.

"I believe so.”

I feel as if I touched something I shouldn't have. Butanother word comes out of me.

“Do you..." I hesitate. 

"... Will you enter it?"

When I glance at Jasper, he's smiling at me. And it would seem that I cut myself on the very knife he pointed at me.  Frost begins on the curves of his lips, authority steeled in his eyes.

"If I do, will you stop me?" He breaks suddenly into a short huff of breath of perhaps laughter, perhaps disbelief.

Powerlessly, I stammer.

“I-“

"You know,”

Jasper moves his horse forward and stops to look at me. “The stories say that the Lords-Hildebrand who have made their way into the Greywood have all gone mad, but what if they had seen something else?" Jasper shrugs. "The truth? The reality that their rose colored glasses have withheld from them?

“If you enter the Greywood, what would you see in yourself?"

I'm confident that the relationship with Jasper and I is that of a rich man with a whip and an excited dog begging to be whipped. I may be close to the Hildebrand family, but I'm certainly not their mother.  

my thoughts scrambled 

MANY EYES; SAW ALL

It takes me more than a moment to gather themmy thoughtswherever they may be.

"I don't know what I'd see."

"Perhaps," Jasper murmurs, "freedom?"

Freedom? I blink furiously. "I beg your pardon?"

A chuckle. "I was merely wondering, is all, what keeps you tethered here to us and our play-housing when you could be out there, seeking out your fortune."

Though I take longer to respond, I glance at Jasper, startledness growing in my voice.

“I-" I stammer again, carefully trying to select my words.

"I'm afraid I don't have a fortune to seek out."

I turn to him, placing my hand to my breast, bowing at the shoulders. "For what it's worth, I am tethered here, because I've already found my fortunein serving youand in being a part of your... play-housing."

Jasper isremarkably silent. Only the whispers of the wind fill in his silence.

A sharp inhale.

"Loyal," he seems to decide suddenly, "however foolish that may yet prove to bebut loyal nonetheless."

Thank goodness.

Jasper gives his horse a kick, going back the way we came. When I look up, he's already gone ahead, in a way that seems he's a tad bit upset.

Eventually, I follow after him. I turn my back to the Greywood, but not without hearing it's call.  

Something whispered to me, then.

Edited by SweetCyanide

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