((OOC)) Hey guys! Thanks to several awesome people, I was able to get a basic in character outline worked out!
I'm not sure if I get headaches. If I did, now would be the time for one. Each time I come back to myself, it's with a rush so powerful, so overwhelming, that I almost feel something physical. Like the memories of every broken nose I've endured stack up, multiply with the presence of each other, and hit me again... all at once. It doesn't last long, really. But each time, with every limb cut in battle, every friend lost... every touch I've shared... I relive it in that time that doesn't last long. All of it.
When the pressure fades, I'm as I have always returned. This contemptuous harbinger of death. Some phantasm of countless lives lived and lost. Was it the Hunger this time? Did one of those mortals get lucky with the point of his spear? Was it someone like me?... I've had a harder time keeping track of things after I come back. All the memories are there, but where do I place them? Was I set aflame in the woods? Did I fall victim yet again to the massive axe of some creature three times my size? Or was it, as usually suspected, divine intervention? Each has taken place, but when? Was this last life snuffed out peacefully, or with strife? Was my original body taken by the fire or the axe? Or was it something else entirely? I'm becoming more okay with the idea of not knowing.
I've floated through countless cemeteries. Moved unimpeded through thick stone walls to search for a worthy candidate. I probably didn't like it so much at one point. Now, it defines who I am. At least until I am something new. Again. This incorporeal form is awfully comfortable, though.
I've thought about just leaving. Floating through the endless black of space, reliving my glories, contemplating my sorrows... mourning my losses. I'm sure he would like to do so as well. The one who mournes... Kane. I think he's the one who put me here... made me this way. I don't really remember. Whatever it was that talked me into this had a grave voice. One which made me shudder. I remember the pain and the regret in it. I remember that it mirrored mine, but I do not remember why.
What did I do to deserve this?
As quickly as it came, my lament fades. Though I may dwell, I have purpose. Urgent purpose. I do not have the luxury of feeling sorry for myself, for I am just a tool. I know this, and cannot fight the urge to continue. The crow presses on.
I would like to say that this form leads me, but it doesn't. I pick the subjects of my next conquest. I am, however, driven by something more than myself. Or, more than I was, at least. When I wander back to self loathing, my mind is redirected. Focused.
Historically, I have looked for the largest mausoleums. Specifically, doors that could only be moved by creatures like the one who removed the head from my shoulders once. Did he separate it from my spine using only his grip, or did he have a blade? Refocus.
Finding a stone slab of commendable size, I slip through it. This doesn't feel any different from traveling through the air that carries me. I do simply that, slip through. The light cast by this incorporeal form helps me see. Or does it? Maybe I can just feel everything around me. I don't know, but it is as natural as breathing has always been.
The sarcophagus in the middle of the room is smaller than the previous one, I think. Did the previous body have horns? Were they snapped off, or was it the one who died with his horns intact? Maybe it's not smaller than the last one.
Gliding down to floor level, I can just make out the worn plaque that rests against the foot of the stone coffin.
“Here lies Astros, named for his father and slain for his people.”
I try to whisper his name, but of course, cannot. Before I enter the warrior's place of rest, a glint of metal catches my eye. Around the corner from the plaque is a smaller sarcophagus. I try to feel the muscles once present to tilt my head in curiosity. If the form did, I do not know, but the light coming from it makes the metal shine brighter. I recognize the pile quickly as gold. There are also intricate little weapons and goblets inset with gems every color of the spectrum. Sensing another plaque beneath the pile, I move within and read, much more easily, the gold plaque underneath.
“Here lies Sir Cotton, father, friend, protector, and savior. May his sacrifice never be forgotten, and his loyalty carry on through his people.”
Many times, when I find a suitable candidate, I don't know much about their previous lives. My choice often reflects the physical attributes found in a warrior. A champion is required to fight, stave off, or sate the Hunger. But perhaps a man of conviction, beloved by his people and loyal to the end can make more of a difference. Maybe it is I who needs a change of pace.
I make my choice with the conviction I imagine in this much smaller container covered in the tributes of his loved ones. Without doubt, this is the man who would at least get us closer to some kind of resolution. He's certainly not the first. Hopefully he is the last, though it is not likely.
Perhaps with the next choice, I'll try not to talk to myself so much. Everyone needs a goal.
As I open my eyes in total darkness, my name comes back to me.
I try to sit up and hit my nose hard. I reach up and feel claws scratch around in some hair around the tiny, rough button poking out.
Why can't I see?... Didn't I die?
Something wet comes from my snout. My sensitive nose picks up the smell immediately and recognizes it as my own blood.
I reach up and place my paws on the stone covering me. Panic overwhelms me. I slap at the slab until I can calm for a moment as my open palms close to fists. More liquid comes from my knuckles. I take several deep breaths and open my palms. As I push, I feel stronger than I once was. Almost as if the whole of the Guinecian army were assisting me, the slab grinds aside and falls with a heavy clatter to the floor. I climb out and stare at the tarnished, aged gold surrounding the stone box I was in.
Noticing the proximity of a larger sarcophagus against mine, I strain my eyes to read the plaque before I stumble back, falling on my hindquarters. I try to whisper his name but cannot help from choking the sound.
“Astros... my friend...” Composing myself, I place a paw upon the stone encasing the mighty warrior.
“Why was I praised so, and you were barely remembered...” I manage to scoff as I look back to the plaque. “Named for his father and slain for his people... that simply won't do.” I resolved to honor the true hero before making my exit with a purpose I don't fully understand. Something pulling at my mind... Some imminent danger...
First, moving the pitiful plaque for the true martyr to the floor, I try to hold back tears and fail. I pick up the marker for my grave, now empty, and situate it underneath his so that it read, however crudely pasted, “Here lies Astros, named for his father and slain for his people. Father, friend, protector, and savior. May his sacrifice never be forgotten, and his loyalty carry on through his people.”
As I dry the fur beneath my eyes, my mouth flexes into a frown.
“I will remember you, Astros, Champion of Men. I do not know why the second chance was given to me... my family simply loved me. I did nothing to deserve this wealth and adoration. I was a disappointment.” My newfound strength clenched in my fists at my side, another tear breaks through my closed eyes. Sniffling, I raise my head again. “But that will change. If there is nothing else to fight for, I will live in your memory, though I could never hope to be the defender you were.”
Resolve rising in my chest, I turn on my heel and start up the stairs to the surface. I don't know why I live again. But I will find out. I will return to my friend in the end, and take my place beside him, eternally.
I am Sir Cotton, Guinecian Knight... And I have a Hunger for answers.
((OOC)) It's long of course. If anyone wants to jump off of this, you're welcome to! I also very much appreciate critiques if that's your thing. (You might PM me those if we can do that!)
Edit: I kind of hate the title now. Maybe I'll change it to A True Martyr. Or something like that.