Mar 16 2017

What am I? Does it matter anymore? Why can I not think clearly? Why do I regret it all? Why do I dwell on thoughts when I know that thoughts hurt me? Why do I care about nothing? Why do I care if I care about nothing? What is wrong with me?

The musings were nothing new. Ever since he arrived in Lithmore, Volpe Varroe could think of naught but his fear of his own mind; he was daily affected by a weakness and insecurity that he could not confront directly, else he would risk destabilizing the last pillar that kept him from complete collapse. Nevertheless, the conflict within him manifested in many ways that he refused to acknowledge; his hatred for the Lady Justiciar borne of a hatred for the presence of Law in a Kingdom he despised; the numerous risks he took in mastering the unholy vice and yet never using it; his finite strokes of luck when pickpocketing nobles and Knights and other lone wolf acts of criminality… His murder of an innocent. All of these things culminated in the youth being unsure of what he was and how he could consider himself a good person, if he considered himself such a thing at all.

An apostate who robs, kills, and embraces deception is by all definitions evil. Is that what you are, Volpe? Are you proud of having accepted that in finding sanctuary with the things you loathe, you have damaged whatever direction you convince yourself to construct and follow every day?

Of course not. He was proud of very little these days. He committed horrible deeds, and he knew it. He could have stopped long ago; perhaps not by confessing his taint, for burning at a pyre would be the last thing to convince him of the Lord’s existence if it were his last moment on Urth. No, it would have been a cowardly, safe resignation from his dark life. He would have retreated back to the sea. Found another crew. Knocked up a nice, thin Tubori lass. Die at sea from scurvy before his child’s third summer. All while knowing that he was running from a past that was very much still present to those who would live with what he did.

Was he an intellectual, to spend so much time thinking? Perhaps in another life he could have studied at the King’s University, although he couldn’t read until he was fifteen. Surely no one with a significant intelligence would remain illiterate for so long. And yet the ability to write down (and subsequently burn), his thoughts had brought him as much clarity in mind as it had clouded. He was beyond his station, thinking. We are not supposed to think like this. We wouldn’t be able to function if we did. And so he ceased to function.

Paralyzed with fear and befuddled by his own attempts to ascend the impossible, he found a cure by acting as though he knew nothing, which he believed was mostly true regardless. His thoughts were less complex and uncomfortable, but this served him well. Feigned ignorance to everything and projected self-doubt cast him in a sympathetic light in most circles, and lashing out angrily (as he did with the Earl Marshal Ironwall and other authorities), prevented him from considering the consequences of his actions, as he very rarely was punished.

He thought of his friend, Audra. He wondered if she was truly his friend, or if he had simply used her like he did all the others. He remembered relishing, and then regretting almost in the same moment, threatening to kill her. He remembered her whimpers, and her tears. He wondered if he had relished hurting someone he believed he cared about. He wondered if he had regretted not doing it in a more private place. Would he have killed her had they not been in the Hall? Perhaps not. They had been alone many times since, and he had not felt the conflict stir up his urge to do what he could.

Because that was what he feared, and what he could not understand. That last pillar, his self-delusion of breaking outside order to maintain his own, could only collapse when he acknowledged that for all his regrets, for all his crimes, and for all of the abhorrent things he had done, he only committed them because he could. No matter what justification he provided his absent conscience, he stole because he could and he killed because he could.

He could not come to terms. The realization was too great. He had to leave the city before he exposed himself for the monster he was. It was only a matter of time.

Volpe Varroe pulled up his fox fur hood and crossed the portcullis out of Darton Gate.

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