Series

Book

Prologue – From the Fog, to the Fog

The thick, dark barked, looming trees groaned in a recalcitrant sway, the breeze that passed through on a meanderingly woven path stirred the faded gray fog about their spindly, leafless branches. The branches had twisted forms, crooked and kinked in harshly unnatural ways, so that they appeared to struggle to upraise and uphold the sky. Their mangled appearance, seen even through the fog, suggested a lifetime of this imprisoning and binding torture to prevent the skyworld from collapsing onto and breaking the earthworld; their torment warping their limbs, and yet still they went on. Unceasingly they prevented the apocalypse by way of the sky being held at bay, no matter what they went through. Was there more merit, more glory in that, than shambling away as he was?

The lone and bedraggled soldier’s head swam, wobbling like one of the Empire’s gyroscopes, the throbbing in his skull mirrored the tremors surging through his body. These were some of the effects brought on by being debilitated from too long of a journey – if it could be called that. It was more like too long of a ‘running away’. And that burdening sky was not one he knew. It was a void of a sky with nary a cloud, not even a ghostly wisp to be a reminder of the skies of imperial home, and then there were the dimmed pinpricks of stars, like he were gazing at them through a veil.

Worst was the moon. The full, glaring, ruddy moon, four times as large as he’d ever seen. Its presence appeared to hang over him and this bleak, desolate forest, threatening to come crashing down and obliterate it all into nothing. He almost wished it would, to take him from his sure fate. It’d be a swift end, and a poetically apt one. Because of two things, he felt more than thought like someone had spoken into his empty mind, the first of which was that a crashing moon wreathed in abhorrent fae magic was a general fear amongst certain echelons of the Empire; and then the second of which was that in its cataclysmic crashing it would take far more than him. It would rid this wretched world of this trap of a forest. Too bad he didn’t know more of the subject, as macabre as it was, at least then he would know something, such as his own name. Of all things not to know, it just had to be his own name.

The horrid thing of a moon cast a gloomy glow upon the barren forest and upon the fog that hung in a pervasive and light haze, while its attentions were to chasing in ethereal tendrils about the gnarled, twisting and arching roots. These incessant roots, thick as much as trunks, spread all over the forest floor like living malicious vines imbued with the will of snakes. They overcame rocks and boulders, dried riverbeds, and each other, creating a convoluted and disorienting weave like that of a maddened seamstress across the rough ground.

This forgotten, long lost place reeked of eeriness, and sank unnerving fear into him. All of this would have been fine, would have been manageable, because then there would be that slim and slight chance at finding somewhere, anywhere but here, if not for the silence. The pervasive and heavy silence that was there wherever he went, hundreds of steps ahead of him no matter the direction. In fact he could not recall when it was not there, like a demon upon his shoulder, dragging claws through his armor and into his flesh. It whispered shadows of his death, that it would come, that there was no running and there was no hope.

It really felt like that was true. That even if he could walk right, even if his throat didn’t burn for water and his stomach didn’t feel like an abyss, death would come for him. But it wouldn’t stop him. And it didn’t stop him from shambling onward, clumsily picking his way amongst the roots with as much care and caution as he could manage, stumbling across the caked dip of a riverbed, and gripping onto a prominent tree, alone amongst this particular pattern of roots. He used it as an anchor to slide forward and then go forth, picking his way, just as gingerly and clumsy as ever.

The silence beared upon the lone and bedraggled soldier. He might be, or might have been a guard; but he wasn’t sure. There was a maddening weight to the silence, heavier than the sky, heavier than the too large moon. It was crushing onto his shoulders, worming and snaking its way into his bones. Next to that, the weight of his corrugated, rounded steel plate was a distant afterthought – it was steel, wasn’t it? It seemed to go blurry when he looked at it for more than a few moments, bringing on the tremors more fiercely. He wasn’t too mad yet, to fear an innocuous thing as silence, considering if it was. But it was not, for it would be the silence that would kill him in this long forsaken forest. It would not be the days wandering these desolate woods, foregoing rests but for the brief ones. Was it days? Now he wasn’t sure, the passage of time felt strange and out of grasp. He couldn’t remember when his two canteens, latched onto his worn belt, had run dry – his belt most likely was leather, some sort of leather, but he wasn’t too sure, as it grew blurry like his armor did when he looked at it for long enough. It felt an eternity since the canteens had run dry. He had been sure to chase after the meager droplets, each increasingly more precious than the last.

Despite his self-verified sanity, the silence seemed of its own thing here, like a prowling, lingering creature, clinging to his faint shadow, beading on his visored helm from the hanging fog, sneering from the horrid roots, and glaring from the ruddy full moon. In this silence his every footfall was heard, clanking with the shifting of the many plates of his armor, echoing into the surrounding distance, broadcasting his presence to anything and everything in this deadened forest. It wouldn’t matter if he was unarmored, with undergarments like a foolish lad out for a romp - he had contemplated trying that but could not summon the nerve to abandon one of his meager protections while the fear prickled on the back of his neck.

How had he ever come to this otherworldly place? There was a fog inside his mind when he searched for the answer, just as surely as there was a fog hanging about him. He found it hard to remember his life and his duties as a soldier of the Empire. Even harder to recall was the past week, and the past days. It was like a smashed blur, a picture splattered with paint and streaked across with the broad swipe of a flattened hand. The details were beyond him. He would sob, a wreck, as certainly as a child might if he could’ve spared the exertion and time if not for the dire circumstances. Pausing would threaten his survival by lingering too long, as he was without sufficient sustenance making his dwindling endurance a precious commodity. Something would be all the more likely to catch up to him. Beside those very real concerns, he imagined he either lacked the capability to produce tears or it would only enervate him further.

The dangers of the forest weren’t beyond him though, and neither the compelling urge to escape. This derelict place hung the dread of imprisonment over him. If he could just make it out of here, out from under this too large moon, he could finally be free. Yet, finally free into what and where? He stepped and tripped, with the unwillingness of his own body, into a dusty trench littered with tiny sharp rocks amidst silt. The stones crunched with an echoing clamor under his outthrust gauntlets and bent knees, and he was partly thankful for the hardy metal. Maybe his bare flesh scraping against the rocks would have been quieter but it would make enough noise to echo and travel and his gouged bleeding injuries would directly render the whole benefit of being unarmored useless. He would be far slower, injured at the hands and knees, than moving with the weight and restriction of the armor; additionally there would be the scent and minor trail of blood, if whatever was stalking him could smell.

He had slid a ways down the trench. He stayed there, unmoving, uneasily surveying it. He knew he was being followed, and followed not just by one creature. He lost a broadsword already to the encounters with the things that floated and drifted with angular and flat bits of chalky stone and volcanic glass with scowling faces like flowing mosaic. Their voices screeched indistinguishable hellish words as their bodies rushed like tiny tornados of swirling broken glass. He had scraped by in the encounters by hacking and smashing them into a pile, by ramming them into the withered trees and swinging his sword in a close gripped form. It seemed like when he stopped them from keeping up inertia or movement they couldn’t rise again. He didn’t question it.

Nothing chased after him into the trench, the echoing of his fall gone or else out reach of his hearing. Shakily, for a moment, he rose and trekked on. The trench made for quicker travel, the crunching of his footfalls too loud for his liking, his need to survive, but he was able to move so much quicker here.

Why did he need to survive so badly, or was it to escape this place entirely? Which was it? Shouldn’t they be all inclusive? His head hurt with this disquiet. This wasn’t the time to question it and this wasn’t the time to give up. Why did it matter so poignantly? It was every living thing’s desire to live. A base instinct. So why did the reason matter?

Because he didn’t know the reasons at all, like any person with a working head would and should know. He didn’t know what he had to live for, and he didn’t know why he was overwhelmed so fiercely with the urgency to escape. It was more than the very real danger of this cursed forest and its denizens. It was something that started before this forest, something that to him stretched on for an eternity. The answers ached behind his eyes, where the memories should’ve been.

What was his name even? How could he not know his own name? He spun around at a sound other than him. A turbulent whirring and then a distant screeching, the noise distorting from the faint echoing of this place, making the two sounds lap over one another sporadically. His heart hammered, panic setting in when it had yet to ever beset him. Beyond the fear, which was a very reasonable thing to have in this situation, he had kept control. But he was beginning to loose it. His breath was quickened and he became very much aware of how much fog he was breathing in. What was in this stuff? It had no scent and no taste, no information to discern its properties aside from its temperature of chilling cold - and the fact that it was a vapor.

He turned and ran fueled by the adrenaline from the panic driving him on. His bulky boots thumped onto the hard, dusty dirt and the rigid roots with resounding sound, trailing a cacophonous series of echoes from him which were worse than footprints could be in this forest. The fog suddenly grew denser, reducing his field of vision to a few yards at best. Was the end upon him? Was he entering a change in the forest, or was he perhaps nearly to freedom?

The fog thickened further, like he was shoved into a snowstorm’s cloud with instead of flurries of cottony snowflakes it was gaseous eddies mired in billowing, rippling wet curtains. His hands waved out in front of him, in some vain effort to stop himself from running into the trunks. Little help that would be with roots. Except through the blue tinged fog, the trunks of the twisted trees loomed like monstrous statues and their branches reached through the curtains and eddies like bony and gnarled claws to capture him. He couldn’t remember them ever being so low, ever not being crooked and kinked upwards. They had once seemed to hold up the sky. Now they appeared to try to drag him in, keep him in this pervasive wall of fog and this endless tangle of a forest. He stumbled multiple times across the weave of roots, and painfully so with a leg being snagged behind a root with the rest of him speeding forward, but he kept on.

From glancing he could see misty condensation forming on the plating of his armor, collecting in such an amount droplets began to roll down. There was a noticeable pressure, much like when moving through water, except it wasn’t as slowing and severe as that. So his lumberous legs were propelled forward in thumping steps with more force. And then the pressure entirely evaporated, like a balloon popping. The eddies and billowing curtains ceased, the fog turning into a plain hazy sheet with not a single twisted tree or root in sight.

And then he broke free of it, free of the forest and the fog into rolling fields of tall, golden yellow hued grass waving in a swift, cool breeze. He stared out at the endless expanse before him, too shocked to gaze at the sky, at the sun beaming down. The rustling sounds of the breeze coursing and sweeping through the swaying grass was reassuring, so much like a soothing tune to his ears. There were no twisted and gnarled trees, no trenches of dried riverbeds and no snaking, arching roots. It was all an endless expanse of grass, a place where the winds were unimpeded by nothing. The winds flowed like a brushing contour over the hills, singing a melody only the two together could make. Stiffly he took a few steps forward dumbly. The horizon was a gentle orange as if the sun were soon to set.

It was night. It had most definitely been night. Right? Right… his thoughts trundled along sluggishly. In sight of this serene place this abnormal discrepancy was disturbing. It might mean he escaped, or that he continued down the prison that was merely a maze. And there wasn’t a soul to utter the truth of it to him. Instead he could only wonder to himself, about the very pressing concerns that tightened his gauntlets into fists.

Was he a toy then, an experiment to watch and prod at? To see how the marbles rolled in his near empty head? His teeth grit as he pulled free his visored helm, his one sword’s hilt in hand at his hip. Its make and style was different than that of the broadsword. A katana of sorts, swifter and unfortunately far smaller. Across the face of the blade, flowing up at the middle from the hilt and grip, was a pattern toothed like a row of crags darker than the rest of the bright gray metal. It was the type of weapon meant to slice flesh, and for clashing against blade, not for volcanic glass and rock tougher than bone.

He hadn’t looked behind him yet, to affirm that the forest was still there, that maybe this wasn’t all an illusion. The terrifying questions spun in his head, leaving him reeling ambivalently as to what could be worse: if the forest was still there, or if it was a mirror of the expanse before him of rolling, yellow gold hills of grass. Then he felt the unmistakeable presence of something behind him. It widened his eyes in alarm. A towering thing overshadowed him, blocking the light of the warm sun. Its penumbral outline fountained up and out in shape, like a figure with a thin waist, too broad shoulders and gargantuan arms.

He turned to face the creature, the one largest of them all, the one that had loomed in the distance watching as the mosaic tornados attacked. It had been such a hard thing to see he wasn’t certain it was anything more than a tree, or particularly vehement root then. With the creature before him, he was sure it had been there. He wondered now if there truly had been so many of the mosaic things. Had it, or others, stirred and revived their fallen comrades?

And there was no twisted forest seeping fog. The expanse of rolling grass continued beyond the creature, like there hadn’t ever been a forest or he was somewhere entirely else. He could certainly believe in magical portals at this point, even though a small part of him detested and resented the notion, like it was disgusting and deplorable to step foot into something like that.

The thing looming was a figure of floating bits of glass and stone, colored solidly black, purple, and sanguine. It had a thin torso that tapered away not into legs, instead into a featureless tail like a genie. Its chest was bulky and broad, its shoulder’s matching, like a mildly rounded and upside down triangle. And its arms were just as wide, with thick fingers of floating pieces. Much of its composition floated, least of all was its face of sharp, angular pieces that made it look like a jester, far long outlawed in the lands of the Empire. Why was it outlawed? It was an innocuous, errant question that his mind grabbed at. He couldn’t find why. Doubtful he could even if the effort had his full attention.

Horrified that this was the dreaded end, he struck out with the katana in a swifter motion than he thought he could muster. The blade lashed out like a bullet firing from a chamber, the strike reflexive and instinctive as if it were learned. The katana clattered against the jester-like thing’s disjointed, cloud-like body, piercing but ineffective against a thing such as this as the bits of stone there jostled around the blade. There wasn’t truly something for him to easily damage, and quickly too; not like there would be on a person with their many vulnerabilities, or really anything else that walked the world. Maybe not this world, wherever in damnation it was, he thought.

The Jester cackled madly in a distorted raspy voice, almost like it was through a filtered mask from a desiccated throat. He hadn’t the faintest idea, nor the time or care to dwell on how precisely it spoke and what it possibly sounded like. It pulled back like a gust of wind shoved it where it wished, and then swirled around him, taunting him. He careened and stumbled, pushed and shoved by the Jester’s disembodied figure that swiped and slashed against him as it circled. The bits of stone and glass screeched against his plated armor, slicing through like it was foil, leaving him bleeding in lines. The bright red blood splattered through the rifts in his armor he had believed to grant him a measure of protection, at least some. It wetted the golden yellow grass, saying to a small part of him that he was real, that he was affecting the world around him.

He tumbled into a heap, the world a whir of stone and glass like a multicolored sculpture shattered and scattered around him while his arms and back seethed with so many lines of raw screaming pain. Laying there his ears rang as he felt partly detached from his own body, his own shell of perforated armor that never did feel right, like things were all of a sudden passing by much slower. He could feel the breeze passing over him with fresh, warm scents of flowers. He hadn’t seen those, and he wondered where they had been hiding, and where they could’ve been amongst the ubiquitous expanse of yellow grass.

And now, so close to the grass, to the blades that sagged under his splattered blood, he saw the brown hue to the golden yellow. The hue trailed up the base of the tuft, fading away further into the golden yellow as it reached higher. It had a likeness to the pattern of a flame. It was such a trivial and unimportant thing that made him weakly smile. In comparison, the predicament of his katana was both important and relevant. The katana was out of reach, stabbed into the earth, grass sawed off where it landed.

It wasn’t so much blood lost yet that he was in severe danger, and his attention turned up to the looming Jester. All the invigorating energy the adrenaline brought had crumbled away under his pain and his severe exhaustion. He was tired to the bones. Was this all just a nightmare, where he knew not the world and himself? When would it end then – when he died?

He shook the thoughts away. As possible as that might be it was assuredly not something to bet on. For all he knew he could be escaping the Foregrounds to Demise’s Rivers. Demise’s Rivers…? The thoughts drifted across his mind in a fleeting moment of stupefied wonder.

The tick-tock of a clock resounded in his head, like the inexplicable sound was telling him his time was running out. It jarred him from his near trance. No, he wasn’t about to give up. He wouldn’t die just lying here. He would die fighting, if he had to. He still aimed to win, to survive and escape. It very nearly didn’t matter how. He lunged towards his katana, reaching an outstretched hand towards its hilt. His plated armor dragged on and crushed the grass beneath him, rendering it into a pulp when it had been pristinely beautiful, untouched by anyone in possibly a whole Age. The tail of the Jester slapped the katana before he could grab it, emitting a clinking clatter, and the katana flung away, tumbling end over end, slicing through the swaying grass and out of sight.

And then it spoke with words, words that he could actually understand, its voice just as distorted with a drawling, mocking and vitriolic tone, “How many times must you do this, Chimera? Not once have you unresisted our calls and commands, whether you are pulled from your then role in the Manling Planes or influenced as to your purpose there. Is there a part of you that thirsts for the fallacy of volition? Still there, ingrained, after your mind and visage is wiped away and then reformed?”

The imperial soldier stared, stunned to the point of floored bewilderment. The Jester spoke with some degree of reason. It didn’t screech like a beast, like the tornados before it. But what it did say threatened the very integrity of his sanity, causing shimmers to arise at the fringes of his vision like a ghost of a mirage.

The Jester continued, its distorted voice risen in indignation no less familiar and no less strange, “How can you not appreciate your purpose? You are a great tool put to great use. You are not locked away, feared or disregarded. You are not a tumultuous menace to those around you, as you are wont to be!” The Jester spread its too large arms out at its sides in ire, quaking vibrations rippling through the floating material of its arms. “You, Chimera, should be thankful. And yet you are most definitely not! How dare you defy us! Their wrath affects not just you!”

It screeched and grabbed him, a hand wrapping around his midsection as he bellowed. It swung him, sending him flying across the hillock and he skidded across it much like a flat and rounded skipping stone over calm water, except those stones didn’t tumble as he was doing. His armor made hard thuds as his breath all but escaped him.

He hardly rolled to a stop before it caught up to him. He struggled, shaking, to rise to a knee as it glowered down at him – the tilting of its ‘brows’ seemed to suggest so. Waves rippled through its entire floating form, like it were restraining itself as it fumed. Like he was just an unruly animal.

His blood roiled, stirring from a deep-seated fury he hadn’t known he was capable of. It caught aflame like a match to dry kindling, that then set ablaze wood formed as the peak of a campfire which was what had already been there, from the struggling in the forest to the lopsided confrontation with this thing. It was too much.

“How would I know anything about this!? My mind is a foggy blank! A BLANK! I know not my own name! Which is apparently your fault!? It’s not even as if I’d know that to be the truth either, nor anything you spew!” he howled defiantly, through the jarring bewilderment he was mired; amidst this hodgepodge of combat he was belittlingly overpowered in and these grandiose claims.

The Jester, rather than lash out at him with its many pieced amorphous arms or tail, glared down at him; literally as well, as the hard light of the sun reflected harshly off its flat chips of eyes. The Jester spoke, its indignation unnoticeable in its voice despite that its form still rippled and shivered like it were about to erupt, “Dorum was your most recent moniker.”

This rattled something beyond the veil of his waking mind, dislodging an unseen mass. Out of nowhere and yet everywhere he heard a cramped throng people say this name, as if they were speaking to him and as if they knew him personally. It was a blaring burst of vociferation surrounding him, their voices running over one another. It startled and overwhelmed him severely at first, but he quickly rebounded to cling to these voices and these people. He fought to pick out their individual voices with all of the efficacy of grasping flowing sand, and then it was over, feeling like it was gone in an instant.

It left Dorum reeling. He shifted into a quaking crouch, and then stumbled backwards until he managed to stand surefooted.

The rippling of the Jester’s glass and stone form ceased at some point, and now its head tilted as if curious or quizzical. “Remembering something I see, lending integrity to what I ‘spew’.”

“Anyone could know my name..” Dorum retorted halfheartedly.

“Anyone but you, apparently.” It then snickered like an imp.

Dorum’s lips twisted into a bitter scowl. His lengthy pale blond hair flowed past his vision in the coming gust; a characteristic of himself he had scarcely paid attention to despite the need to know who he was, as the need to escape had been far more urgent.

Dorum needed an angle. With a calmness that he did not feel he spoke, the more calculated behavior sliding into place like a well-worn glove, “Say, just say what you claim is true. That I’m your minion, that I do your bidding on…on reality apparently. I do what you want, but they’re not entirely my decisions and so I resist. As you said, this doesn’t appear to be something I can control, being that I’m not aware of…whatever it is that you’re doing to me…”

Saying it out loud like that, processing it in that manner, brought to light how disturbing it was. And it was overwhelmingly starting to feel a lot more real. Dorum struggled to grasp the full-blown implications with his already fogged mind.

The Jester ‘head’ tilted the other way as its sanguine lips of glass frowned, the pieces clinking. “You think the party that orchestrates your interaction and influence upon the Manling world is enacted fully through I, the Detritus, but no, you could only hope that to be so. It is the Trueblood Fae. And so you are Faebound, Chimera. Those shackles are your purpose and worth. I cannot fathom how you persist to resist, for that is the meaning to your existence. Anything otherwise is foolish notions of Manlings, believing there to be worth in the insipid commonplace,” it said with derisive condescension.

“Says your fanatical beliefs!” Dorum shouted, the calm stripped clean away and discarded as if it were never there to begin with, “You’re a pile of rock and once-sand. What would you know anything about the worth and meaning in life?!”

“I know well enough the beliefs of the Fae, and the sheer actuality of purpose. If you have not this, then you are discarded. Maybe remade. This stretches beyond you. But it matters not what you believe from this, as it is doubtful my preachings will sink into your inner mind; though you are partway in your own mind as is. It will all be washed away soon enough, as it has before, as it always has.” It then hissed scathingly, “Still, I detest you Chimera.”

The jester-like Detritus chuckled madly, the bits of stone and glass of its upper body shifting and swirling, haphazardly switching places with one another; predominantly this occurred in its face, making odd and disturbing images like it was scrambled again and again by being struck and jumbled. It was now more disembodied than ever, and Dorum began to earnestly question what shreds and scraps remained of his sanity. Was the Detritus actually doing this, or was it in his own mind? Was this even the waking world at all? How could he even know, when he knew nothing at all before that forest and this field? Nothing aside from errant information, like an Empire’s gyroscope. A worthless jot of information, of something he couldn’t even say was commonplace like a paperweight or used as a tool. The picture of a metal, many ringed gyroscope spun, the many rings flipping end over end in fluctuating and flowing directions as the object flew around in his mind, confusing him as to what it was actually used for.

“Problems have arisen, a very many. Oh no! Not from your pitiful excuse of an ‘escape’. You just happened upon the opportunity to go…wandering. Yes, wandering. It was just that. However, we are at an impasse of sorts. You can’t simply be funneled to where you were intended, else you will risk…discovery. They think they can take your reigns. Neither can you be…stored very unfortunately.”

The bright light of the day dimmed as if it were turning into night, and quickly at that, but instead of night falling onto the grassy expanse, a surreal violet blue fractured across the sky in an angular way. It swiped through the air and over the grassy hills, saturating where it touched. Faint, pale white fissures scattered like luminescent spider webs wherever this saturating light was, like it was glass not shattered all the way through. Staring at the whole thing as Dorum was it all looked very much like colored glass of only one color - violet blue. The colored glass was broken so badly its pieces scattered, filtering the areas of light the pieces of glass were over with the violet blue hue.

It was strangely comforting, that violet blue that shone with its gloomy light. It brought to mind a serene place filled of the multifarious shades of blues and floating golden powdery motes as large as fists, where stardust streamed openly overhead the broad, shallow and cool pools among the gargantuan mushrooms more grand in size than ancient trees. It felt like a dream from childhood, an out of place and poignantly forlorn feeling being that he knew not his own childhood.

Dorum hardly noticed as the Detritus’s chips of purple, black, and sanguine stopped wildly shifting around, its grin malicious in its mosaic visage. “If not for the conduct, you’d have been told little of this. And seeing as time runs ever shorter. You have served your purpose throughout your stints in the chronicles. And so shall you continue to…”

The Jester-like Detritus surged on Dorum, the chips of glass and stone awhirl in a frenzy. Dorum turned, stumbling into a breakneck speed as he could manage. Fear screamed through him as he looked over his pauldron, the red of him seen through tiny rents in the armor. Gripped in its too large hand, with talons of sharp stone, was an open faced and broad box of streaky, cooled lava. It had a grayish blackened skin, as if it recently flowed from a volcano, which magma glowed through in ribbon-like, curving slices. Perhaps he could have seen the pattern to those slices if they hadn’t seemed so natural, and if he wasn’t fighting to get away from it with the last dregs of his stamina and willpower. He couldn’t see what was in that box, as the light didn’t pierce its innards. And he didn’t try. The sight of it brought rancor, and shamefully fear.

The world was then a chaotic mess of the normal daylight and the violet blue gloom, made into chips and pieces just like the Detritus. It was little different than a broken reflection made into tiny windows from seemingly different worlds. Then blackness pulled over him, plunging him through a space devoid of sensory input save for the sensation of sluggish falling. Like that of an ant being sucked to the bottom of a glass of molasses. Dorum’s mind was growing foggy again, the so few parts of himself he had managed to get ahold on slipping away.

Was this what dying was like? Was he dying? Or was he just becoming someone else now…?

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