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{{Usergoddess | 240px | avatar = PogoPogoGoddess.jpg | heroine = Ash Corde | motto = ƒreedom is an illusion. | guild = The Forsakens Lament | rank = Matriarch | personality = Sociopathic | town = Godville | }}Imagine something for me. Close your eyes. Listen close. My voice is in your ears; let it lead you forward. Imagine.
{{Usergoddess | 240px | avatar = PogoPogoGoddessYou're young again, or perhaps you always were.jpg | heroine = Ash Corde | motto = Forget Your hands are small, chubby little things, grabbing on to anything in reach. Mouth aching from new teeth, you jam the lightstrangest things between your lips, and your giggling is heaven itself to your parents. You are loved, and you are warm, swaddled in a blanket sewed by your own grandmother; you can picture her wizened hands, tangled in yarn, working the needle as she spins you a tale of heroes and dragons. You even have a younger sister, though her eyes never worked like yours do.| guild = The Forsakens Lament | rank = Hierarch | personality = Stubborn | town = Godville | }}The way I two of you share everything, and you tell her about the colors she's never been able to see it. Hours are spent outside, there are three types of people in the worldsun, with everyone fitting neatly into one categoryrunning about in the grasses. There's nothing you want more from life; you are content.
There are The harsh, hacking cough is what changes it all. Joy seems to drain away from the "good" peoplefaces of your parents when they look at you, who make a serious effort hear you wheezing for air. You're suddenly bedridden, struggling for breath; when it abates, your family confines you to do no harmthe house, heal their heroes and heroines constantlyspeak of you in hushed tones that promise a slow, painful doom. You are young, and give out an insane number of hugsbut you understand death. You understand that this cough is a lingering one. You know you're going to die. You don't want to die.
There are the "evil" peopleOh, how quietly need becomes apparent. It's almost unnoticeable, really, ones like how quickly contentment can run sour. You catch yourself forgetting the Darkholderkisses that your parents planted on your forehead, the people who seek way they used to take what they can and hold onto it as long as possiblesmile at you, no matter how much others have you lit up their world. Now, you've become nothing more than a dark spot in their eyes, and even that will fade away. You don't want to suffer for itfade away. TheyYou're obsessive, schemingnot done. You're not even thirteen cycles, and clingyyou're dancing with death. This cannot be allowed.
And then there You fall in a different way than Nature had intended; you slip quietly into libraries and research Death's antics. The books are musty and breaking at the people who live somewhere in betweenseams, but they sing to you. Steadily, you learn to sing back, wondering and one day you find what they did wrongyou need. It's a ritual. Simple, isn't it? There's just some blood to spill, hearts to remove, lives to take. Easy. A knife is all it requires.
My name Your sister, you discover, is PogoPogomore loyal than you imagined. She volunteers to help you, to bring your sacrifices to you. She even plans their deaths to coincide with the times when your body is well enough to allow you to stand, something you thank her profusely for. It is far easier to end a life when you can move fluidly.
I lost my birth name long agoThe first kill is the hardest, in another lifetime. My parents died when I was young, in the village of my birth. The people there told me that the forest had killed themcourse, that they had gone out hunting and been taken by especially when the animalssacrifice begs for mercy. I knew better. I'd seen Sacrifice- when did you start to call your mother an it? When did you give up on pretending to care? Was it when the Shades. Ash has a different name for their kind; she calls them Midnight's Children. A fitting nameknife went down, but carving a mouthful. I'd seen them at night, outside crimson line over her chest? Was it when you nailed the heart to the door and windows, scything across the wall in sharp, slanting lines of shadow. They frightened me, their coin-like, silver eyes always watching through the glass, the figures of my nightmares. They came your house? Was it when I tried to fall asleepyour father ignored you for days after he saw it, but they never entered left you for the house. Not once. Not until that day.taverns? When did you give up on feeling for them?
I didnYour father't have a choices blood runs thinner, you discover, or so I'd thoughtwhen you make your second offering. IYou don'd left my favored toy outside. They couldnt know who you't have re offering itto, they couldnbut the promise of immortality is what you know you'tll receive in return. It was my Pogo stick, my PogoPogo. I loved The promise of eternal life is something you crave desperately; the copper tang in your mouth when you cough is a reminder of that thing. It was all I'd had left of my fatherEven your sister craves immortality, who had made it for me himselfdesiring to be beside you forevermore. Never mind that I had broken it years agoShe is loyal to the end, even when she plunges the knife into her heart and that crumples to the right-side handle dangled loose like a cut seamground. I still cared deeply for itYou are kind to her as she fades. And it was outYou tell her about the color of the sky, in and she leaves the dark, world with them. So I wenta smile.
At first, they were content with watching me as I crept across It is your turn. The metal's so cold in your hands when you wipe the porchblade off, onto the dilapidated lawn. It was leaning against the far treesharpen it, wreathed in prepare it to be sheathed for the darkfinal time. I had Should you be afraid? All you notice is a desire to strain to make it outfinish this, a subtle apathy. The lawn was grasping for my feet Your chest heaves with bitter coughing as I tentatively inched towards the toyyou finish your preparations, and hands shaking wildly as you position the Shades began to writhe. Their forms began to slide knife over the grass, towards me, and my breath caught in my throatyour chest. They were going to kill me. They were going to kill me. They were going to kill meYou hesitate.
So I ran. What else does a child do, You are twelve cycles and three seasons when she is afraid? Some cry. I was no crier. I sprinted for you push the house. My PogoPogo would have to wait. The porch was so far away to small legs, legs half blade home and ascend into the size of an adultpower you'sve earned. The porch was there, suddenly, the rim nearly catching my feet as I leapt over it, grabbed for the door, opened it and made to rush inside-
It grabbed me. It grabbed my shoulder and then my armRegret, and I wailed. I screamed as loud as I could. I almost howled. The thing clutched meof course, pushed me into the house as others latched on, until I was carried shrieking into the house by is a heavy weight to bear for most people; your sister certainly feels it when she wakes up in a mass of boiling shadow and silvertemple. They swarmedYou, and they brought me to my bedroom, held me to the floor. I remember little of the nighthowever- that's next several hours, which was a blessingdifferent story. I vaguely remember cryingYou don't mind it so much, push it aside. What I remember next is Ash bursting into the roomThey'd distanced themselves from you anyways, two swords in handyou say to yourself. She was a stranger to me in that Your parents hadn't deserved life. Others, however, do not believe you when we metyou try to explain this, condemn you. You change your story after they attack you. You tell those that ask that it's agony for you to remember. She could see, thenYou force tears and anger. Her eyes were blueYou pretend, like the skybut you know better. Like my ownYou don't care. She parted the dark with two shining blades, fighting until the Shades had dissipatedYou never cared. She knelt in front of me and shook me gently, and I looked at herYour life is an act.
"Are You leave your sister soon after your new life began. She's useless to you, useless until you learn how you all right?" she demanded can use her. You come back to knowfind that another had taken her as their own, claimed her mind and stored it away. You work quickly. You take over, push the other away. "Did they hurt She becomes another pawn on the board, and you?"used her too.
I noddedMore pretending. You created your story- she's using you, you say, cryingtaking over your mind slowly and surely. My back is laced with In reality, you'd destroyed her easily, sucked the scars life out of her, made her your puppet. Finally, you had something. You control the nightshadows. Life is going well, grey and thin against my skinespecially now that your heroine is killing in your name, lending you more power, building a temple for you. YesIt's never enough power, they'd hurt meof course. I bled Other gods will have to fall for you to gain that night still. They need to underestimate you. They need to see you as helpless, pathetic, my shirt plastered to my back and staining red-brown-black, the heavy tang of copper in the airundecided.
"What's your name? Can you tell me your name?" she asked softly. I opened my mouth to tell her, and paused. I couldn't remember my nameYou are not concerned. It was goneThis will be easy. My best guess Pretending isyour profession, the Shades took it with themafter all. Perhaps that is how they nourish themselves, with peopleWhat's names. What would I call myselfanother lie? The first thing that came to mind was the toy that lay broken outside, wrought from my father's worn hands. A way to remember him. "PogoPogo," I whispered. "My name is PogoPogo." And that is when I truly began.

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