A small character study
** So this is a small experiment I did in order to define a character I’ll be writing about for a new project. It’s, like everything I write, a bit meandering. So, forgive the mess.
This is nothing more than an effort to record the little trip I took with them. **
Who is the old man? What does he care about?
The truly demented, and honestly *boring* sort would clench their fist, grind some yellowed teeth and say “POWER!”, as though power in and of itself was the goal.
For some, it may be, but most people want power for a reason. That reason may very well be quite idiotic on its own — I wanted to get back at my siblings, I wanted to impress someone who didn’t notice me, I wanted to PROVE THEM ALL WRONG! — and that reason is enough.
So, who are you, old man? And why do you care?
Am I searching for truth? Am I searching for an answer to a question no one else dared to ask? Or am I seeking a boon to solve a riddle no mortal should seek to unknot?
I have money, so what does it matter? I will spend it as I see fit, and I see fit that a man such as you go to this place and tell me what you see.
You must understand; I am blind, but I was not always thus. My sight was taken from me by a disease. One feverish night clouded my eyes forever, just as one did for my father, and my grandmother, and her father, and so on…
When we come of age, we are told to prepare, the children of my family. We are told ‘The world will go dark for you one day, and there’s nothing you can do about it’. I took that to heart, I sought to see as much as I could. I traveled, I read, I saw. I realized shortly after I left school that commonplace things did not satisfy me. Knowing that I would lose my sight, I wanted to see the extraordinary.
I was fortunate. My mother’s family was rich; landowners with noble bearing. I could afford the rare things. The old things.
I thought the thread I followed was laid out by history, impersonal and meandering. I must have had a question buried in some dark cellar of my mind, however. I came to realize that I was seeking something in particular.
I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what reason, what folly or crime, what offense or curse by wraith or spirit meant that I had to go blind.
The world went dark for me long before I could find an answer. Even then, I did not stop hunting my elusive quarry.
I did, however, find myself in need of hounds.
My blindness, ironically, brought me clarity. Clarity of purpose. Without the distractions of sight, my goal, the truth, became the only thing to occupy my thoughts.
I explored old places, ruins, temples, fallen castles and even caves under the sea, led by my guides. Usually I have only one of them at a time. The things I seek, the places I must go to, do not surrender the secrets they hold lightly.
The first time one of my hounds was taken it was an accident. He opened a tomb for me. I don’t know what happened. All I know is that the sound I heard was what I would expect in a butcher’s shop. I called out my hound’s name. He was called Javeh. I asked him what the noise was. It lasted almost a minute, starting and stopping every few seconds.
A voice, like the sound of bones grinding together and a mouth full of something, said, “Ask.”
“Why was I made to go blind?”
“Because there is a price to be paid”, the voice replied.
“Why? What is the price? Why must my bloodline pay it. Why must I pay it?!”. The voice didn’t reply. The presence that nearly froze the marrow in my bones faded away. I tried to chase after the voice I heard. I slipped after the third step I took.
I fell and hit my head. I groped around and found my guide’s leg. There was nothing above the knee.
My hounds, of whom there have been many, don’t know about one another. I make sure that they believe they are the first. There have been simple servants, treasure-hunters, a couple were beggars who thought I was like them. Two more thought about robbing me, after we were deep in the dark place they led me through.
Eventually, something will happen. Sometimes there will be a voice. Sometimes there will be writing that I’ll have my hounds copy down and carve into a wax tablet so I can feel it with my fingertips. In doing so some have lost their minds.
The answer I am looking for, the truth about my disease is still out of reach. I still have the thread leading me to it in my grasp.
I will find another hound, and I will get my answer soon.