NaNoWriMo 2009: Shades of Gray [Excerpt 01]

2009 November 1 § Leave a comment

Long after the choice stopped mattering, Amron asked me why I had accepted his proposal. Why I became a Rogue, when he asked it of me.

I don’t know the answer to the question. I might have, then; but the time and experience between then and now have created a vast gulf of gray that I am only now brave enough to attempt at understanding and examining.

Why did you say yes, when I asked you to become a Rogue?

I didn’t answer him right away. For all that being a Rogue was my life – my entire life, or close to it – I don’t think that even I knew why I had done it, and put up with all the pain, and responsibilities, and grief, and pleasure that came with the position.

Pain; never had I been so frightened, than the night when our solitary leader’s whip tore into my skin, rending red stripes into the smooth expanse and adding to the scars already marring my figure.

Responsibilities; mine were so far from what the nobles pretended. Every night I was not out with my people, I tasked myself with waiting impatiently for them to come home safely.

Grief; because inevitably, there were the careless or the risk-takers, or simply the unlucky, who would never return safely to the fold. And these, I sent off down the Dark River personally, with a candle to light the way for their souls, and tears to ease their passage into the world that comes After.

And then there was pleasure, and love, and so much more than I ever could have imagined. I will not lie, with my feelings colored by the present, and say that Amron’s love for my body was better than the men who had come before him; and yet, unspoken between us was his ever-watchful gaze, and too-understanding mind. What I needed – whether it was roughness, or tenderness, or somewhat between that – he gave me unstintingly. And when I slowly began to see all that he was offering, I don’t know what kept me by his side. Some nights, I still remember shaking, and pressing my face into the covers, for fear that I would never be able to forget Amery. For fear that I would never be able to put aside what we shared, and live for myself, without the shadow of his ghost haunting me. I took so much – too much – from Amron, but somehow even his crooked character could accept what I had become. And even when I was cruel, he only gave to me…

Perhaps it was that forgiveness and gentleness that eventually healed the pieces that Amery had left behind, and let me love again.

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