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The Bard
Posted in Numb
Ascension of the Wanderer
The Bard smiled at The Magician's question. 'This is it. This is where it happens.'

The Bard licked his lips and excitedly wrung his hands. "As Raine said, to test humanity the old gods and supernatural powers of this world forsook us." His smile broadened. "It sounds to me like there's a lot of vacancies right now. We ascend. If we must fight gods with no gods on our sides, then we ourselves must become as gods."

The Bard found himself once again in the sprawling cityscape of his mind. Unlike the first time he found himself here, he no longer felt alienated or afraid while here. This was his place, a place of reflection and strength. As he wandered the streets he laughed aloud. 'It's funny. This place is almost like the city that the Magician has taken claim to.'

The Bard looked around him, taking in all the architecture and sights of the city. 'No. I suppose not. My city is still cold and foreign to me. While it is my place I still do not understand everything about it, nor to I hope to ever have a full understanding. The perpetual unanswered question of how this place came to be is precisely what makes it such a wonderful place to reflect upon my own unanswered questions of my soul. That is why the shades of my mind are drawn to this place.'

A new yet familiar voice cracked through his head, threatening to rip the Bard back into reality. "Human... What is this place?.. I can sense that you are still here, but you are elsewhere as well."

The Bard took a moment to push away some agitation, and calmly responded with his mind's voice. "Your internal voice is like your personality... excitable. Ever since my pact with you I have been more sensitive to loud noises. It would do you well to learn some restraint."

A sensation of embarrassment flooded from the other side of the connection, followed by a barely audible whisper. "Sorry. Can you tell me about where you are right now?"

The Bard smiled. 'So juvenile. So innocent. At first he thought that he would find no synchronicity with this young dragon, but he was finding the opposite to be true. The fact that he too was so innocent at the start of this journey was what allowed so much growth to happen. His connection with this dragon was giving him back a piece of the price he had to pay for the power he now had. His innocence.'

"This is my mindscape. Or least that's what I've come to call it. Those of psychic and magical faculty typically have something like this. It is a place they have created with their inner eye and soul for meditation and solitude."

With a surprising maturity, the dragon spoke. "A place of solitude?.. Does that mean you don't want me sharing your senses and following you while you're in here?.."

The Bard shook his head. "No. I think you could benefit from this place. If you are to travel the world with me, then you must first see this place."

At these words, the dragon's form slowly started to appear next to the Bard. Within a few seconds, the dragon had reached complete tangibility.

The dragon quickly circled around the large street and began chatting excitedly. "So cool! What a strange feeling! I can sense my body back in the real world, but this one feels so real too!"

The Bard let the dragon enjoy the moment, waiting a while before clearing his throat. "As I understand it, our souls our now one and the same. This place is now yours just as much as it is mine. Please treat it with respect however. While mages and psychics create their own place, for whatever purpose this place came to me. We are guests here." With that, the Bard began to continue his walk.

The dragon followed him, twisting its head round about as it did so, a look of amusement on its face as it studied the many towers and buildings that seemed to disregard all need for foundations or physics.

And then the Bard stopped. Once again he found himself in that fateful courtyard. Rather than waiting to explain it, he voiced his inner monologue for the dragon's benefit.

"I first found this city the night after I died." The performer in the Bard paused and waited for that to sink in. The dragon could sense the seriousness of the situation and didn't say anything. The Bard continued. "Sleep came to me slowly that night. I wrestled with myself, playing the scene in which I chose to come back over and over in my mind."

As the Bard continued his story, shades began to creep inward from the edges of the courtyard towards him. Tears began to form at the edges of his eyes. "I didn't have an answer. That woman of pure Anima sacrificed part of her essence so that I could go on living, and I couldn't say why I wanted or deserved that. The unanswered question of why I chose to stay was killing me."

The shades now stood in a circle around the Bard as a single bead escaped from the Bard's eyes and streaked down his cheek. "That night the city found me in my dreams, asking me questions about myself. Showing me the horrors that had befallen the world, asking me over and over the question that I couldn't answer. Why did you come back. Why did you come back. My ego couldn't take it anymore, and my personality snapped."

The Bard slowly lifted his left hand, clenching it and unclenching it. "I did what I had to do to survive. I became this. A twisted and deranged form of my previous self. The only part of my personality that carried over was my love of adventure and excitement over new things." The shades that had encircled the part slowly began to merge together, forming two entities, shadowy images of himself, one on either side of him.

The Bard pointed to the form on the left. "This is my past life." Images began to flood his mind, and he shared them with the dragon. Memories of traveling the world, the gypsy family he had once belonged to, the women he had loved, and the world he had enjoyed. "Regardless of what I have become, this is still part of me. This is my beginnings, and the foundation of my soul."

The Bard then pointed to the right, but he didn't need to explain this one. The dragon spoke. "And that's your future self. What you are about to become."

The Bard nodded. "When I first came to this place, I had plans to let it consume me, erasing all other facets of my personality." The Bard turned to the dragon. "However meeting you has changed my mind."

The Bard let his arms fall. "Bonding my soul to you has re-exposed me to a personality that I used to share. A love of life and self exploration that used to not only be apart of me, but was my everything. It was my identity. Out of respect for myself, I cannot leave it behind."

Tears forming once again, but now full of confidence, The Bard reached out to the form on his left, clasping arms with it. "Whatever the future holds, we go forward as one." As the Bard reached out to the form on his right, he could feel the resistance as he pushed through the mental barriers and prison he created for himself before shattering them and grabbing the arm of his future.

"If we are to ascend we are to do it together. For we always have been and always will be, The Wanderer."
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Epic × 3!


Beautifully written.
Thanks, Sheldon. :) I didn't realize I had so much emotion for the Bard, but I definitely felt it while writing it all out.