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A Little Black Book
#1
A pocket-sized black book bound in leather and smelling distinctly of ozone and iron. The writing within is, unless otherwise specified, painfully neat. Almost like it was machined.

I. A reflection of self

    It has been approximately eight hundred and thirty-two and a half days since my awakening and somewhere drawing upon three hundred since I discussed with my sister the concept of writing thoughts in a journal. My dallying has taken far too long, and now it is time I put thought to pen, and pen to paper.

In these two years, the discovery of self has become my primary focus upon this green earth. I have tread every continent and dined upon its wildlife. Savored the flavors of their blood and the richness of their meat. I have breathed their air and listened to their culture from afar, an interloper in the guise of a god-blessed. I have been made witness to what it is that makes a man good and what makes a man bad. Seen the broken and destitute, and broken bread with the frivolous and rich. I have broken hearts and bones, and then mended them all the same. Played the part of a noblewoman and knight. Danced about in plate too heavy to be considered useful, that which I woke up within and have steadily soaked in my blood and sweat, and even the tears I still do not understand.

Yet, what do I have to show for it? Who was I, and who am I?

When I look in the mirror, I see the face of a corpse of someone I do not know, and will never know. I have seen someone with my exact features and felt fear, knowing that my existence is a farce cobbled together from the divine earth, a body taken from some street, and the blood of twelve beasts. I stand in a mirror and shape my expression like I see people wear when they are out living their lives. I smile and see the maw of teeth that will spell the end for years to come. I shed tears, and feel nothing. I contort my features in anger, yet I do not know what someone is supposed to look like while angry. I could squish them together and force my lips into a snarl, letting the world see all-consuming jaws that they rightfully fear. Yet, my face does not naturally contort so. Nor am I able to craft my expression into such. People are afraid to be angry around a pretty face like mine. Or my meek appearance. Or they are soothed. Or I stand at the back and watch. Anger is a feeling I cannot fully express, yet I feel it boiling within me like a great serpent that will inevitably uncoil and hurt someone I care about. I feel the joy of breaking someone's limbs soothe it. I feel the joy of having my ribcage shattered by a Dullahan, and that only causes it to rise higher and higher. I know not when it will reach its crescendo, only that my blood burns hotter and hotter and hotter, and my body continues to heal despite all the pain I endure. I broke my hand on Garrett's armor and it healed within the week. I thought that was the crescendo, but it was only an expression of my desire to inflict unadulterated pain upon another in the heat of combat. I wanted to stick my claws through his visor and let him feel the sting. Let him know sharp pain and not the dull clanging that goes through his body when someone batters that indomitable plate. But. I also like Garrett. I still have the flower from my second visit to Dormeho, when he showed me the park.

Yet, I also feel the same way for my sister. She towers over me. She trains me and has tended to me while I have had my body battered and my back broken. Lingering within, I feel a desire to hurt her and my other siblings. To feel them cower beneath me. Shiver. Shake. With pain. I know that pain is what they will grow from. Learn from. Every ounce of pain is a new opportunity to learn, to grow. Yet they are also not the vessels of change made of divine mud. I could hurt them and they would hurt for years. They could hurt me, and I would hurt for weeks. I feel my spellcasting grow more and more with my rising anger and desire to inflict lasting pain. The poison becomes stronger. The flames of death burn hotter. To see someone afflicted by my curses brings an otherworldly joy that nothing in this plane can match.

But there are still pains that sting even when the body is healed. The pain of the mind. Love is a harsh, addictive thing. I hate it. I hate it. I hate all these feelings. I hate human feelings because they cannot be controlled or healed like the body. I cannot drink a potion and make my longing go away. I cannot drink a potion and have a childhood. I cannot drink a potion and make my desire to cry and scream and shout go away. I don't know why I cry. I don't like crying. I can cry as I desire, but it doesn't make a difference. When I cry from feelings it stings and hurts and the muscles in my face twitch and I cannot stop them, and I cannot stop the crying when it happens. I do it when nobody can see so they won't know I am weak like that. I don't want their comfort. But I want their warmth. And I want their comfort. But they won't know how to help me. And I don't know how to help them. It makes my body numb and my limbs tingle when I see Red crying and I don't know what to do and I panic and I stop and I have to think and I don't have a solution. I can only hold her and pet her hair. I am afraid of people that cry.

That's enough. I hate this.

II. A reflection on Humanity

    In spite of my previous distaste for notation of my thoughts, I have decided to try once more, with a more collected approach.

During my time wandering the Six, I have been witness to all sorts of men, both good and bad. And every time, I must ask myself, what is it that defines good and bad? I have attempted to decipher this, but come to no absolute conclusion. For a time, I suspected that it may simply have to do with cultural standards. Yet, even that did not seem right. Delving even further, I tried to discover what makes someone 'bad' and someone outright 'evil.' Were a hero to do something deplorable, would they be considered evil? Or merely bad? Can you be good, and evil? Are they contradictory states of being?

When I look upon myself, and my own actions, where do I fall? I threw myself at the raging Dullahan Rodrick in Greilland to defend the injured lying on the ground, for they could not withstand their barrages as I could. Yet, I also derived excitement and overwhelming joy from having an opponent who would bruise the arm that wields my shield and shatter the armor I wore. Does this make me bad, to have gained something in the process? An understanding of self? Would I have been considered a hero, or just another adventurer seeking thrills? Or is this merely my duty, as one who carries a shield?

When I gazed into the empty eyes of the children on Lordwain, I felt nothing. I reached out and incinerated it without a second thought because I knew they were cruel, vicious mockeries of what an actual human was. I could feel eyes piercing my back as I stood before it, the entirety of the collective of adventurers watching me. And yet, none judged my actions, at least not outright. None took issue with the fact I did not hesitate to kill these children. Does this make me bad? Was I a hero for slaying the monster, 'evil' for not even registering them on my emotional radar?

What of when we saw their memories, and I felt a burning, deep envy within? To know that they had childhoods to enjoy. Parents that loved them. It made my rage bubble and boil and my blood heat like molten metal. And I desired nothing more than to crush their tiny skulls under my boot because I knew they could not stop me, and I could wipe their memories from this earth. But it did not make me feel any better about my own envy. I only sought to keep hurting them for existing. When they touched me, I felt disgusted. Like I had stuck my hand in muck and could not pull it free. I slammed my shield into its head so hard I felt bones crackle and snap, and that did not alleviate my feelings. I froze them and shattered them and doused them in poison, and even that did not help. 

I spoke to Connor later that day. I don't think he knows how I really feel. But he didn't think I did the wrong thing by killing them. And still, I have second thoughts.
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#2
III. The Right of Power


   What does it mean, to be born with power? Do you owe a debt to your creator? To the world? When a homunculus is created, do they earn the right to wield their power, or even their creator's?

   Is it the right of one given power to use it, or should they restrict themselves based on the preconceptions of others? Where does right meet responsibility?

When I was created, I knew how to draw a bow before I remembered how to walk. To string it if it were broken before I took my first breath after being drawn from the void of un-life. I rose off the operating table and I clattered to the floor in a pile of armor plating and my own body. My legs did not want to listen and my tongue did not agree with my jaw even in the common language. I looked up at my sister expectantly and she did not help me to my feet. So I laid there for the next several minutes, a struggling soul against a body that did not like being commanded. When I rose, I was fed. Like a dog.

Soon introduced to my other siblings, I was scolded for my lack of manners. Understandable, I suppose. But it stuck with me. Over the next week, before I was set upon my work, I spent much time in the courtyard of home with a bow and many, many arrows. I could feel the hints of memories in my mind; the thoughts that did not belong to me but were instead stolen from my father. His magic was mine, yet I did not properly understand how to wield it wholly. He may have given me the knowledge enough to use magical arrows and the like, but the darker arts were still locked away. Seeking a catalyst to be freed.

Such catalyst would come with utter humiliation. I was a mediocre archer at best. I could run. I could hide. I could shoot arrows, but none of those made me good. To be thrashed in the arena and humiliated in front of spectators. To tackle my brother to the ground and begin beating him until my sister kicked me in the ribcage. These were the beginnings of the growing anger within my blood. And in a way, I suppose I am thankful. My fear and meek attitude turned to hatred, and that fueled my father's teachings. To hex and curse, to see someone tremble and shake beneath my boot because I had filled their body with poison and their mind with terror. The idea grew with great excitement within me. And I asked my sister if this was wrong, and she said you could not be wrong in fighting. I took up the spear, and I learned that to let blood by hand was much more satisfying than to use a mere arrow. The impact of the blade piercing plate caught on bone and severing muscles as it passed through. The scent of blood so close to my hands. To see it dripping down the searing blade, sizzling and filling the air with the scent of iron. Fuel for an even greater desire to fight.

I must ask myself with my growing power, stolen from my father; does this belong to me? Am I skilled, or am I merely playing mimicry of his greatness? Was I not to be using this power, would I be wasting the potential he instilled in my body? Is it my right as his creation to wield such power and use it to crush my enemies? I believe it is my responsibility to advance his work and utilize what I was given to grow in strength.

Would he be proud of me?
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