Anima: The Masquerade

Back in Black

Fade to Black

The light faded from my eyes and I experienced the most pervading pain I have ever felt right down to my very bones. Then I was dead. I don’t remember anything during that time. Then the pervasive pain was reversed and air filled my lungs. I sorely wished I had been left in peace. No man should bear the pain of death more than once.
It got me thinking about Draco. All I could think about when he passed was if there was any way to bring him back. Now, I doubt myself. I saw him in the soul flow. Or at least I think it was him. He was at peace. He was free. Free from all this suffering and pain. I do not think it would be fair of me to take that peace away from him, simply because I could not cope with his loss, or even if I felt he could do so much more good. It is not my place to decide such things. Instead I should honor his memory and leave him to his well deserved rest.
I had died fighting. I could not have asked for a more honorable death. But that honor was taken from me and now I am filled with fear.
When I awoke, I was in the worst place I could possibly be. A punishment worst than death. I had failed Eternia. At every turn I was blocked by magic, by powerful figures and circumstances beyond my control. Every stride I took to try to stop events from transpiring ended in failure. Since I met the Oracle, I have been imprisoned, tortured, possessed, beaten, ridiculed by friend and foe alike and bullied by those who bed with power. My best friend died and I was unable to protect the people of my city. The only good thing that had happened to me in that time was the unlikely meeting with my beloved, Megan.
But I was tossed over the edge. Torn from the world I had known, I was still alive, yet possessed no way to return to my beloved. I pictured her on the alter six months hence and the tears that would fill her eyes. Her heart broken and it would be me that had made her so. I had left her nothing. Just some money to keep her happy and a fading dream that was our love.
I wasn’t dead yet. There was still a chance to make it to my wedding. The single thought consumed my mind. I would try every second so long as I drew breath to return to the world above and reunite with my beloved. If I could not, if there was no way to return and all that remained for me was to wait beneath the world I had known, I may as well be dead, for no punishment could be worse. To know the pain and despair that would follow and being unable to do anything to prevent it. Trapped in a hole with an undead court jester. No. To have the world I had known, my love and my life torn from me, and then my own honorable death even stolen from me and to know that I could do nothing to prevent the disasters that await… That would be hell.
So I must try. With every fiber of my being. I must not rest until I return. For not doing so would be a fate worse than death.
I have done some thinking upon it. Upon the fevered dream of my return. If I return to that world, to my beloved I would leave all of this behind. I would marry my beloved and start a family. Take over the family business for my father in his old age. Create a life that I could leave behind and say “I did this. This was my work” and leave something for my beloved should I die.
If I leave it behind, someone else will rise up in my place. Wherever there is evil, good will rise up to meet it. There are plenty of powerful figures in this world to set it aright, once they see the world for what it is. Why should it be my responsibility? I’m just one man. I’ve been given a second chance to live a normal life. I have nothing the masqueraders want anymore. They would have no quarrel with me. If I let them be, I would be free to live a happy and normal life.
So I must try to return to the world, or else die trying, for there is nothing else I can be. For my beloved, for my father, and for myself.



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