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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 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. I inspected it out of pure curiosity and 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, I believe it's not that mysterious. It even has a publisher and everything. It's probably quite popular. It 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. Unfortunately, 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 seneschal 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 Terrenus, Renovatio, and Genesaris. I never get to venture outside of the manor, so I like to study books about the world. A non-human like me would be shattered 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. Though my physique is completely human, 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 a finite amount of gold. Blood that I can control, manipulate, form into what I want it to form. Be it a blade or something as simple as a rabbit statue, I can create. Everyone worries that I may use these qualities to commit evil. Murder, they said. Which is, truly, rude. I would never do that! I may be 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.

Now – this is truly strange I must say,

I feel pain? I know that sounds silly, but it’s really true. Um. I cannot feel texture? I feel nothing? How do I explain this? Whatever, you get the gist of it. I can’t feel the pain in drowning. I don’t really breathe, so…

One day, I was out in the fields and got attacked by a flock of crows. That was the first time I’d ever felt sensation. They pecked out my eye, and, I had felt completely overwhelmed after feeling pain. So overwhelmed in fact, I was taken over by fear, and the crows left me in literal pieces. Not too literal, they merely pecked the hell out of me.

Eventually I was found by Lord Jasper. He took me to Lady Aspen to fix me up.

That was also the day I earned the name, the Golden Crow. Lord Jasper thought it up as a joke, you know, because the crows pecked me to death. And, well, knowing Lord Jasper, he and his sister were well on their way to destroying the laboratory. Luckily, I managed to calm them down when I said it was a nice name in order to save said laboratory, though I find that title odd, it sounds nice if you don't know the meaning behind it. Lady Aspen continued trying to assemble my 'pieces', while Jasper kept teasing his sister for fixing me with glue.

And then, one day while training in the Silver Halls, Iyalon shattered me. On accident. Shirin was also there to witness everything.

This time, I did not feel pain. 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 turns out, I had been decapitated! Only then when my head was placed back, I regained consciousness. I felt the sensation on my throat, and I screamed. The day after, I trained harder and harder in order to avoid another shattering. Though 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 Nai from it, I once chopped off my hand while trying to chop a steak, and, yes, so on and so forth.

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

But is that it? Is that really all there is to me?

What about the gold in my veins? I only use it to entertain, maybe fascinate by the way I mold it. I've already sworn not to use my powers in order to kill, so weapons are out of the question. Every time I look at my hands, I wonder. What else is there to me? Am I really just a servant? Bound to washing dishes, dusting paintings and getting rid of termites, all 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, Esme and Merel, 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. Thank the gods nobody heard.

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

If I were to be honest, something's not right about this... I think. What's my lord going to do? Certainly he's not going to attempt striding in? Maybe he'll throw a stick into the forest and tell me to go play fetch. As strange as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised if he told me to do that, it's Lord Jasper, for crying out loud.

But – you know him. I can't refuse Lord Jasper. He's either going to make me feel bad... or... make me feel bad.

If I were to be honest,

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 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 of horseshoes left by the ancestors who dare wandered into the Greywood. It was beautiful. We stood at a point where the plains connected to the path so our horses were not surrounded by 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 black hole from an entourage of red orange trees. 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 insanity.

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. Jasper is 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. It was like it was eaten alive the moment it flew inside. Anxious, I begin to wonder,

Are there really such things as monsters 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, mulling over the question in my head. “Feel what?”

A pause, like he's letting me wander about in question. 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 sat there, 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 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, sir," I inhale, "Yes. I believe so.”

I feel as if I touched something I shouldn't have.

“Unless you do, plan to enter it?”

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

"If I do, will you stop me?" He suddenly breaks 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 my relationship with Jasper and I is that of a rich man with a whip and an excited dog whipped to silence. He's quite the rebellious type - sometimes he might even remind me of Esme. But: he's already made his point clear. Although I may be close to the Hildebrand family, I’m certainly not their mother.

Now: What would I see in myself?

MANY EYES; SAW ALL

It takes me more than a moment to gather my thoughts in silence.

"I don't know what I'd see, my lord."

"Perhaps," Jasper murmurs, "freedom?"

Huh.

... I once considered that.

I stammer again. I blink furiously and clear my throat. "I've no clue what you mean."

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."

Spoiler

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Though I take longer to respond, I glance at Jasper, a pained smile dancing on my lips.

“You forget, my lord. I'm non-human  whatever I am  with not much meaningful purpose. I've no family, no history, no nothing. Being your butler, play-housing with you and your siblings; I suppose it is the closest thing I have as family. As seneschal, proof that I exist.

“I don’t know what I’d see.”

Jasper is silent.  

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

I nod at my lord. Jasper gives his horse a kick, and going back the way we came. Turning my back, the Greywood watches me. I turn my head at the shoulder and find myself staring again. Though I fear it, I can't find it in myself to look away; there's something about it that I can't quite put my finger on. 

Something whispered to me, then.

 

what would you see

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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