|Motto||Forget the light.|
|The Forsakens Lament|
The way I see it, there are three types of people in the world, with everyone fitting neatly into one category.
There are the "good" people, who make a serious effort to do no harm, heal their heroes and heroines constantly, and give out an insane number of hugs.
There are the "evil" people, ones like the Darkholder, the people who seek to take what they can and hold onto it as long as possible, no matter how much others have to suffer for it. They're obsessive, scheming, and clingy.
And then there are the people who live somewhere in between, wondering what they did wrong.
My name is PogoPogo.
I lost my birth name long ago, 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 them, that they had gone out hunting and been taken by the animals. I knew better. I'd seen the Shades. Ash has a different name for their kind; she calls them Midnight's Children. A fitting name, but a mouthful. I'd seen them at night, outside 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 when I tried to fall asleep, but they never entered the house. Not once. Not until that day.
I didn't have a choice, or so I'd thought. I'd left my favored toy outside. They couldn't have it, they couldn't. It was my Pogo stick, my PogoPogo. I loved that thing. It was all I'd had left of my father, who had made it for me himself. Never mind that I had broken it years ago, and that the right-side handle dangled loose like a cut seam. I still cared deeply for it. And it was out, in the dark, with them. So I went.
At first, they were content with watching me as I crept across the porch, onto the dilapidated lawn. It was leaning against the far tree, wreathed in the dark. I had to strain to make it out. The lawn was grasping for my feet as I tentatively inched towards the toy, and the Shades began to writhe. Their forms began to slide over the grass, towards me, and my breath caught in my throat. They were going to kill me. They were going to kill me. They were going to kill me.
So I ran. What else does a child do, when she is afraid? Some cry. I was no crier. I sprinted for the house. My PogoPogo would have to wait. The porch was so far away to small legs, legs half the size of an adult's. 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 arm, and I wailed. I screamed as loud as I could. I almost howled. The thing clutched me, pushed me into the house as others latched on, until I was carried shrieking into the house by a mass of boiling shadow and silver. They swarmed, and they brought me to my bedroom, held me to the floor. I remember little of the night's next several hours, which was a blessing. I vaguely remember crying. What I remember next is Ash bursting into the room, two swords in hand. She was a stranger to me in that life, when we met. She could see, then. Her eyes were blue, like the sky. Like my own. She parted the dark with two shining blades, fighting until the Shades had dissipated. She knelt in front of me and shook me gently, and I looked at her.
"Are you all right?" she demanded to know. "Did they hurt you?"
I nodded, crying. My back is laced with the scars of the night, grey and thin against my skin. Yes, they'd hurt me. I bled that night still, my shirt plastered to my back and staining red-brown-black, the heavy tang of copper in the air.
"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 name. It was gone. My best guess is, the Shades took it with them. Perhaps that is how they nourish themselves, with people's names. What would I call myself? 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.