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Relikk: The dark child
(Durriel Kerr, firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Come to me, Relikk.” She had always spoken to me with such innocence, and it made me never want to disobey. I took several weak steps closer to her at the peak of that mountain, panting uncontrollably. We had been traveling endlessly for weeks using the mystical strength in our legs to leap over the forests, mountains, and plains in our path. The continuous effort had taken its toll on me, regardless of the preternatural blood coursing through my veins. But as I walked over to her summons, my fatigue was overcome by my awe in the visage before me. I saw a city large enough to inhabit hundreds of thousands of people, and every corner was rumbling with activity. The tops of her tallest buildings were lit with the light of the heavens, though their bases grew dark with graffiti. Citizens shuffled through the streets with purpose and intent—some wielded shopping bags, construction tools, and newspapers, yet others wielded pistols, weapon crates, and explosives. This place was vibrant and colorful, though shrouded in duplicity, and my eyes raced up and down her streets with genuine interest.
“This is Paragon City, my son. Your life will begin here, and you will become very strong.” I looked at her puzzled. Her tone presented a thorough and ancient understanding that my young mind could not yet comprehend; still, I listened with whole-hearted eagerness. She stood tall and elegant as her wonderful gaze soared across the horizon. My mother’s eyes were cloud white and always shimmering with angelic grace and beauty. I would sit in her lap and stare at them for an eternity if she’d let me.
I stayed next to her in silence, letting the warm air blow past me, and I awaited her new lesson. She suddenly turned and wrapped her arms around me in a loving embrace.
“I love you so very much,” she whispered in my ear. Though I had always lived with an understanding that this statement was true, not once had the words come from her mouth. My senses were flooded with emotion, and my arms slowly lifted to return the love. However, before I closed my grasp, she pushed me away and stood up with determination in her eyes. “Draw your dagger, son. Now.”
Though I was still confused, I knew that it was best to follow her instructions and ask questions afterwards. I pulled my weapon from my belt and held it tightly at my side. She smiled that evil smile of hers then walked over to me.
“Are we fighting again, mother?” She didn’t respond and it frightened me. Her smile never fell from her lips as she walked over, knelt beside me, and placed her hand around my dagger-wielding glove.
“This is victory, Relikk.” Without warning, she pulled the dagger and stabbed it violently into her own chest, shutting her eyes and letting out a small yelp of pain.
“Mother!” I yelled, losing the lesson in that moment of despair. I felt no victory in this—only despair at my mother’s agony. She let the blade mingle with her heart for several seconds before yanking it out with unnatural force. She took several deep breaths, willing the wound to mend itself as she had done many times before. The recovery was a slow process, but she did not intend to let it finish before she continued with my lesson.
“And….now, my son, this is defeat.” I was still staring at her wound, when a sudden sting of pain entered my abdomen. My eyes slowly fell, tracing the paths of blood that danced down her wrist back to where our hands wrapped around the hilt of my dagger—the dagger whose blade was stuck deep into my stomach.
The pain was crippling. I couldn’t move, walk, or even breathe. I just stared at my mother, waiting for her to heal me; waiting for her to tell me what to do. But instead of a healing touch, she twisted the weapon sideways and broke off the hilt. I staggered backward several steps, holding my fresh wound, but never taking my eyes off of her. I could feel the warm gush of liquid moving past my fingers, and I coughed on the salty taste of blood and saliva at my throat. She watched every aspect of my agony with discreet amusement.
“That wound is special, Relikk. Do not EVER pull the blade out. Live in Paragon City with this pain, and let it fuel your rage. Use the unrelenting torment to bring judgment to Paragon!” Her words pierced me deeper than the dagger ever could, and the blood flowing down my legs suddenly meant nothing. “Now is the time, my son. Goodbye.”
She nudged me over the edge of the cliff that I didn’t realize was right at my heels. The air ripped past my limbs as the speed of my descent increased exponentially. My mother’s features began to blur and fall from sight, and in the instant of my impact with the rocks below, my love and hatred for her collided inside of me, exploding at each of my nerves like bursts of lava. In those plaguing moments, I experienced an eternity of adolescence. Every crash against the ragged earth on my way down fueled the pain of my abandonment and helped me understand my role in this realm. I knew that I would not taste this pain alone. I would kill many, many people very soon. The underbelly of this city would know my suffering. I would judge them all!
My descent eventually slowed and my bloody, maimed body came rolling to a stop at the gates of the city. I caught a glimpse of two bodies wrapped in red and white uniforms with capes flowing behind them rushing towards me, though as they approached, my consciousness faded into darkness. However, even in that hypnagogic state, my mind refused to surrender the notion: I WOULD judge them all. And in the end, I would judge her too!