Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Not hate Not anger
'So many have gazed upon this world, stared long enough for it to stare back. They leave changed, different, not one leaves the same. They all believe in something, no matter how small, no matter how false. I'm gazing too, wondering as my beliefs change how many have believed the same things, why, how much of what I believe is true… whether there is anything true to be found. Is it wrong to kill a man any more than it is to kill a cow? I kill a cow for meat some say… well I kill a man for power, which too is integral to survival.
So when the darkness comes and I don't have the power to protect myself and it will. I'll think of the men I did not kill. I'll wonder if it was a lack of power that saw me end or a lack of character. I will not hate the darkness for coming. I'll be true to myself. That's more than most are little bro, so in a world of lies be true to yourself.
Your bigger brother'
Kael could hear the sound of Carl tapping against his table even before he entered the room. He couldn't help but feel a sliver of anxiety at that, dealing with him would be even more difficult now that he was like this. Lately Carl had been feeling frustrated, something that did not bode well for those around him.
'You do not fear him, you do not bow' Kael chanted mentally.
He met the eyes of his father's personal guard Kozen, and gave the man a nod of acknowledgment. Kozen replied with a sly grin, Kael felt anger stir within him at the sight of it. He fed the anger, better anger than fear, his father would not win. He was beyond the mouth of the door and into the midst of his father's office in the time it took to frame a conscious thought. He didn't look up. He knew what he would see if he see if did, his father, Carl's, large round frame leaning slightly on an impressive wooden desk. Lips twisted in a snarl, ready to bite, ready to assault. Fingers tapping on the table with their unnaturally black fingernails standing out. Black hair, truly black hair, a mop of it on a head that matched the body it sat on, peircing black eyes that drew attention from the rest of the face and, you guessed it, a black plush mustache that hid a thick upper lip beneath it. Kael could say with confidence that they looked nothing alike. To start with he could actually be considered attractive, maybe, he wasn't sure.
"Look at me when I am talking to you boy!" Carl bellowed.
Nothing alike, his eyes traced the grains along the wooden floors.
'Distract yourself, you are not here, you are free'
"I said look at me!"
'He never would have lost his temper so easily before, he is slipping and he knows it.'
A smile tugged at his lips, he had fight to keep a straight face.
'Do I really hate him? No... not yet. Anger yes but not hate'
"You insist on testing me" Carl's voice came across even, controlled and laced with anger
Kael fought the urge to look up, this could not be good. He felt the markings on his right breast lurch as if in agreement, instantly all pretence at anger evaporated and his stomach did the flips. Something was about to happen, be it in a day or week something of notice would happen. Something always happened after the marks moved.
The tapping had stopped, Kael looked up and into his father's livid glare. For a moment it seemed like Carl would snap and do something they would both regret, well Kael would regret but then the moment was over and Carl had buried the anger.
Carl would not strike him, at least not in a way that could not be described as lightly. After all Kael was GodMarked, and you did not strike a GodMarked unless to tempt fate. Terrible things were said to happen to those who dared and of those things, death was considered the most favourable. That and the promise that given sufficient contact with despair and perhaps the fufillment of one or two conditions, they would deviate, become devaints, men and women that could manipulate the elderitch forces that governed the world were a GodMarked's only weapons. Unfortunately for GodMarked these two things were hardly protection enough, not when those that sought to control them where often deviants who had long come to grips with their deviations
"You insist on trying my patience, on disobeying even the simplest of directives, so be it. I have had enough, pack your things starting tommorow you will join the third squad for garden duty, leave, leave now"
'Garden duty, me, beyond the wall, me'
Kael's feet somehow managed the miracle of getting him out of the room without betraying the tumult of emotions, he was feeling. He looked down to find his hands shaking, he smiled widely seeing that.
'I am in shock, never even left the complex but soon, soon I'll be beyond even the walls and into the Despair. Maybe I will finally deviate, maybe I'll... don't do this, don't raise your hopes.'
Excitement couldn't begin to cover what he felt, probably no word could. Free, the word bounced about his mind, obscuring every other thought. The word seemed to set his set his nerves on fire, he knew he wasn't being rational, he wasn't going to be free, not in the basest form. He would still be his fathers possession, there would still be chains, longer chains but chains.
'I am really not afraid, beyond the borders are creatures I cannot fathom and all I feel is the crackle of excitement. I have imagined this moment over and over again, always careful to add a healthy dose of fear but now that I am living it, I can't bring myself to even feign fear. Am I brave or stupid' he pondered, a smile tugging at his lips.
Kael bent over, clutching his stomach.
"Shushshsh, look at me"
He was yanked harshly by the hair, forcing him to meet the eyes of his assailant. He knew who it was even before he saw the face, few dared to strike a GodMarked unless to tempt fate.Clear blue eyes set in a slightly too wide freckled face. Sandy brown locks danced over the eyes. There was a smile on the freckled face. Gerald always wore a smile like that, half the time it seemed like he alone was privy to some grand secret and the rest of the world was just too slow to catch on, the other half it could be anything. Today that smile said I have had a bad day but you are going to make it better.
"I'm sorry bud, I tried to signal you but you were lost in your thoughts, didn't think to say your name" Gerald apologised.
Kael grit his teeth and smiled back, oddly enough if he played along and he won Gerald would be pleased and he would spared, if he lost...
"My bad mate, I was kinda trapped in a day dream there"
"And what where you dreaming about" still smiling, always smiling
'Why would he walk head first into that? No time to second guess'
"A world where a boy can call your face simply repulsive in good conscience, but alas to do so now would be blatant flattery" Kael answered, wearing his best obviously fake, fake smile.
"Ah! that would be a marvellous world indeed. Despair not for that world is not so far removed from this one as one might think. All you must do is rain on my face a healthy pommeling and presto, covered in bruises and boils, my face repulsive shall be"
'Great, he kept the privilleged tosh... and I see where this is going. He is trying to get me to fight him. If I refuse to pommel him to him on account of decency, he will propose we spar. As if that could be fair, he is a flipping deviant and I'm just me. I accept to pommel him then he will plead on behalf of my decency that it be a spar. Either way he beats me black and blue but first he will sate his urge for stupid games'
"Alas my dear friend I have been gravely injured in my stomach, I cannot deliver your well deserved beating, it seems my dreams shall remain just so"
"It pains me greatly to hear this. Perhaps I might be of assistance, I know a thing or two about setting stomach's right" Gerald replied swiftly.
The beating was quick, merciful even when compared to other times when he had been judged lacking. Three swift strikes to the stomach and it was over. As always in the moment it was done Gerald stared into his eyes, pale blue eyes, he would look back expecting to see something in there, anger, hate, satisfaction, the madness that would drive a person to strike a GodMarked and he would see nothing. Gerald left him behind, lying in fetal position trying to hold back the vomit. He failed at that too, and so he lay there in a puddle of his own making, planning impractical murders. Kael found something burning within him, it was an old thing, one he was well accustomed with. This was hate, not anger.