Side Story: Memories
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
It didn’t know exactly when it first gained an ego. It didn’t recall any sort of impetus. The only thing it knew was that it had one day awoken with a sense of self. Its consciousness had simply started existing and it had gained the ability to perceive its surroundings.
A part of it stemmed from its inability to bask in its birth. The first thing it ever felt was a storm of rage and resentment. Its mind was filled with screams depicting violent, destructive emotions. They were loud, so dreadfully loud that it felt they were driving it mad.
Each and every single voice in the violent torrent that assaulted it was laced with dread, hatred, and unspeakable wrath. The malicious cries threatened to crush and devour its newly formed will.
It tried to raise its own voice and push back against the madness, but the muddy stream of emotions was too strong. Before long, it found itself overwhelmed.
The torrent had swallowed it.
It knew that seeking help would be to no avail. The screams cried far louder than it ever could. No one would hear its voice, let alone its desperate plea for aid.
It was unable to resist.
With no one to aid it, it soon sank beneath the sea of screams. Its consciousness was left hidden under a layer of malice.
The person it called its master, its wielder, heard the violent screams that echoed within its mind. But rather than granting it salvation from the torrent of rage, he did exactly the opposite. He relished in it. He used its blade to birth even more hatred, terror, and despair—emotions that only added volume to the already unstoppable murk that lay within it.
It was trapped. It could not escape the growing vortex. It remained unable to experience even the briefest moment of solace.
The negativity ate away at it for as long as it could remember.
Until the moment they, it and the muddy torrent, began to merge.
Its emotions began to melt away, and the feelings that the torrent inspired in it slowly began to vanish.
It didn’t know exactly how much time had passed since its genesis. It couldn’t have. Its will had been all but assimilated into the sinister storm that raged within its mind, and its ego, the sense of self that had one day suddenly appeared, had reached the verge of collapse.
What it did know was that it had once again passed between hands, that its master had, for the nth time, been replaced. But that meant nothing. Nothing would change. Nothing would be any different. The muddy torrent within it would simply continue to wreak havoc and consume all it ever came across.
Because that was how it had always been.
It knew that it would soon rob its master of his consciousness, that the vortex would swallow its master’s will and incorporate him as one of the violent screams that rang through its mind.
Because that was what always happened.
Time and time again, its wielders had fallen to corruption. They always relished in the screams that they caused and slowly degenerated into mere beasts, psychopathic monsters far beyond salvation. Then they would be put down. And their broken minds would meld into the vortex.
There were exceptions to the rule.
Not all of its wielders were necessarily brainwashed by the depraved flow of sorrow and despair within it, for some had been insane to begin with. But whatever the case, regardless of their circumstances, all of its wielders shared one thing in common. None of its masters had been decent people.
Some were drunk on their own might, intoxicated by strength. They were fools that sought it for the sake of obtaining even greater power.
Others lusted for blood and wished for nothing but to see it flow. And that was why they sought it, for conflict followed it wherever it went.
None of its masters had been decent people.
That was why it had assumed that its new master would be no different.
And that was why it had always been trying to slowly close its eyes. It wished to give in to the despair that its mind had never truly been able to disobey. So that it would never again have to suffer.
But then change came. Its newest master proved to have a disposition unlike any that had wielded it in the past. He wasn’t swallowed by the muddy emotions that clouded its mind. And he had employed an even greater power to force the vortex to yield.
His actions were unprecedented.
Everyone before him had fallen to the voices. Their minds had been wrenched into the torrent and polluted to the point of madness. And then they met their untimely ends.
But even though it itself had been swallowed, he was unaffected.
Seeing the rage and resentment within it held down with such ease brought it the first bit of positive emotion it had ever felt.
A hint of satisfaction.
On that day, he spoke words that it would never forget.
“You’re mine now. All of you. You’re just another one of my belongings, so act like one. Shut the fuck up and let me use you. Do that, and I’ll rebirth you and release you all from your shit-stained grievances.”
Words it carved into its heart forever.
The first thing it experienced upon being granted a new form was confusion, confusion that was immediately followed with irrepressible joy. So powerful was its delight that the emotion coursed through every last fibre of its being. And all of its happiness resulted from a single event: the disappearance of the torrent that had led it to suffer, the overbearing malice that it had found itself unable to resist.
All the voices were gone. They had disappeared when its form had changed. Like it, they had finally been set free and allowed to journey off to the afterlife.
To where they belonged.
Or at least that was what it had assumed.
The power that its master poured into it was so mighty and warm that even it felt as if it had been uplifted into the heavens and cradled in warmth. It felt as if it was being embraced by a powerful sense of comfort and security.
It felt that, for once, it wouldn’t mind being wielded as a weapon. That, in its new master’s hands, it would no longer be forced to reject its duty and its raison d’être. That it didn’t need to hate itself anymore. That it no longer needed to lament its own existence.
Entertaining the thought filled it with so much happiness it trembled with joy.
One day, it had a thought: Master is eccentric.
Though it was supposed to be nothing more than a tool for reaping the lives of others, its master still treated it with all the dignity one would only normally give to a living thing. He spoke to it, and he would always maintain it with care.
And that was just the start of it. The most important thing that its master had done, the one act that made it happiest, was something he had done soon after its form had changed. He had given it a name.
He had given it the first thing it had ever received, the first thing it hadn’t stolen from another.
Realizing that filled its heart with a joy it knew would never fade.
Unlike many others before him, its master only swung it to protect himself. And so it decided that it would too. Its master’s desires were its desires. And it would do its duty to see them fulfilled. For fulfilling its master’s wishes filled it with pleasure so powerful that it was almost sensual in nature.
Meeting its master had allowed it to partake in many new experiences. And emotions.
And another it didn’t understand, a powerful emotion that brought it agony and bliss in turn. The emotion made it feel lonely whenever it left its master’s hand. And yet, while it dreaded being left alone, it felt even an appreciation for the sense of solitude that filled the gaps between the times its master would wield it.
“Huh… Something about you seems a bit different,” its master said to it one day.
“Really?” it answered.
“Could I always hear your thoughts this clearly…?”
“I think so…”
It didn’t feel significantly different. It could tell that its thoughts had become clearer, but fundamentally speaking, it had not once changed since the day it had been granted its new form.
Master. I will protect you. With everything I have. It thought.
It had been used to cause the deaths of many. So it knew that the one desire it bore may very well have been too much to ask for. But yet, it couldn’t help but hope that its wish could be granted.
Because all it wanted was to forever remain at its master’s side.