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Cold and Catatonic

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Cold and Catatonic

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:46 pm

AMESTRIS :: CENTRAL CITY HOSPITAL :: MATERNITY WARD :: 1985

Boop-boop.

A child in an incubator. A cold mess of thin, matted silvery hair pressed down against a bald head. A frame, smaller than any that a child should be born with. Wires, tubes, countless spaghetti networks of the pair of them all hooked up to one focal point; a newborn baby who would barely stir or turn. Infact, for the past three hours, he had done nothing.

Boop-boop.

Nothing except move his hand.

Boop-boop.

Every three seconds, it would clench inwards. And every three seconds later, outwards again. This had happened dozens - no, hundreds, almost thousands of times. It had always been regular. Always on-time. No lapse, no break, no nothing. Just every three seconds, the tightening of wires, then after another three, the loosening. Sooner or later, it became ambience; a background noise. Like birds chirping outside a bedroom at night. Something you took for granted and would only notice if it vanished. The underlying, silent bass beneath a song. The slow drum beat under a march. The hiss of kettles and the sizzle of fresh meat on a pan in a kitchen.

Boop-boop.

Not to mention the constant noise of the ECG. Which, uncannily, made a stroke every three seconds, informing onlookers as to the pounding rate of the baby's tiny little heart. They had told her it was just his body synchronising to the first stimulus he was subconsciously noticing; the cardiogram. And yet she looked at the child... ran hands along the stitched-up exterior of her stomach, and wondered to herself.

Boop-boop.

"My son..." Fingers traced along the bloody scar from a surprise caesarian. He had been... unexpectedly early. Purple rings around his doll-sized neck revealed a lethal truth; the umbilical cord had been moments away from suffocating him, and, now, he was out in the world, weeks early. Birth complications meant there was a good chance he'd become damaged in some way.

Boop-boop.

"What will become of you?" Tears rolled down Amestrian cheeks of the purest and ruddiest complexion she could muster. Hair too light for a child; exposure to light had bleached it. He had eyes; eyes of the purest cerulean blue. Just like hers. And like his father... he had strength. The woman turned her head in the light and revealed ugly purple blotches all along her head and neck.

Boop-boop.

Who beat a pregnant woman? She'd come in to get them treated, weeping, and been rushed away when her water broke and she went into labour. They'd given her some drugs for the swelling and anaesthesia; but once her son was born, taken away from her, and set down in that incubator, hooked up to all those machines... he couldn't live without a father. A bad fall. Yes, that was it. A bad fall.

Boop-boop.

The chances of survival were... uncertain, but the reflex and stimuli reactions were hopeful. She had seen it in those callous doctors' pale eyes; as they resigned her baby his fate and just jotted him down like another entry in the system. They distanced themselves and walked in there pale-faced, the nurses tending to him like sort of vegetable. His life was beginning, not ending.

Boop-boop.

But every three seconds, without fail, he opened and clenched his hand. It showed that the muscles had developed tremendously within the womb, and now that he was out properly... he wanted to use them. She smiled and brushed away translucent, salty, trickling tears, rolling down her face in steady bounds.

Boop-boop.

Even when she cleared her mind and turned her back; she still heard him fighting in her periphery. It was his third hour out of her womb now; he still had another three weeks to go, minimum, before they could be sure he'd survive. And even then, he would have to have medication for the first few months and possible defects all throughout life.

Boop-boop.

She calmed herself. Exhaled. Wiped the tears away. Ran a hand along her flat stomach, covered only by a bloody apron. The wires stretched. The wires loosened. The wires stretched. The wired loosened. Ambience. Insurance. Assurance that he was still there when she turned her back, still very much alive. The wires stretched. The wires loosened.

Boop-boop.

The wires stretched. The wires loosened. The wires stretched.

Boop.

It took a moment to register, but then it was soon all-too-apparent. Turning on her heel and slamming her hands against the glass she stood with her mouth agape and her jaw and eyes wide open. The wires were still stretched. They hadn't loosened. It had been four seconds. Five. Ten. That uneasy silence had racked her and surged through her system, that unnatural feeling as her stomach exploded into a swarm of butterflies and she froze in revelation. A cold wind brushed against her, one that came from no open windows on the ward. That was the first moment she felt her son slipping away.

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep...

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ENTRY #2

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:47 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: 1988

The woman limping back up the steps into the dilapidated wreckage that she and her husband called "home" shouldn't have been walking. That much was obvious. Her face was unnaturally pale; the parts of it not matted with the collage of bruises that ranged from off-yellow to green and a sickly blue to deep purple. Her face was a canvas of knuckle-marks, again and again.

The stench of old liquor bottles filled her nostrils as she turned to shut the door behind her. Coughing and hacking into her hands, spluttering up blood and wiping it away with a moan, she heard a lumbering upstairs, followed by an agitated, slurred shout. "Reina?!" She winced from even hearing his voice from afar. "GET THE FUCK UP HERE!" The howl racked the house in its entirety. Creaking floorboards. Rotting wood. Fist-holes in the plasterboard. Broken bottles and smashed plates littering every inch of the floor. She'd been a clean woman before marrying him. Now... things had just gone downhill, really.

A hand went to dirty hair and the rags she called clothes, dirty and unwashed. The house bore a putrescent stench; no cleaning products had crossed the threshold in decades, let alone years or months. Trembling, grimy fingers pressed her lips together as only muffled sobs escaped. Pangs of pain, continuous and throbbing, from the bruising at the side of her head, continued to sear through her body and head.

Any time she'd gone to the doctors, she'd had to plead for the incident not to be reported. It was domestic violence of the worst calibre. Many a time she was bleeding, and had to be hospitalised for days. And many a time she'd been told that this man wasn't good for her health, and that she had to leave him. She had to.

She'd tried; it hadn't gone well. But those attempts were futile since their being formulated. The real reason she hadn't left - the real reason she couldn't leave - was sitting in a closet upstairs, three years old, with hushed voice and trembling tiny hands as azure irises pierced through a slit-like ray of sunlight watching his father, Lukas, rifle through the room with a bottle of cheap Calish whiskey in his hand. "GET THE FUCK UP HERE, NOW, BITCH!" He howled back down. From the closet, frozen and paralysed in fear, the boy could do nothing but watch. Silver tendrils of hair rolling down his head brushed against his neck. He hadn't had his hair cut in three years. He refused to.

Turning his head ever so slightly, the light cut in and illuminated patchwork bruises upon a tiny head of pale skin. Paler skin than his mother's; almost albino. He was slender, gaunt, and looked malnourished, but every time she rushed him to the hospital for fear of illness taking him, they said he was fine. Simply a thin boy; a pale boy. In reality, she'd been far more ill than him. The trembling Cretan echoes, weak and disheartened, came gently up the stairs. Weary and aged were the tones of her voice. "Coming, Lukas, just a moment..."

"WHERE THE FUCK IS THE BRAT?!" He shouted at the door before she was even there, spittle hanging from his mouth. That was the only ounce of care he could take. Social services were breathing down their neck already; losing the kid would be the last straw. Lukas didn't care about the boy; but Reina loved him, and cherished him with all her heart. And if he was taken away, she had nothing to stay for. Not only that; he was the man's possession, his rightful heritage. And whilst he was flushing every chance for a true legacy down the toilet with every wasting moment...

His violent tones reached her eardrums and she dropped everything to clamber up the stairs in a mad, frantic scrabbling. He had lost her son!? No, no, no... no no no! She let speech flow forth before actively able to process it and make it comprehensive, and just garbled at him in between streams of tears. Hysterical howling, futile, knowing full well that it would just anger him further. "W-where is he, Lukas!?" She looked to him through the battered, peeling bedroom door, split through the middle. "Where is he?!" Her voice was soft, even as frantic as she was. It wasn't meant for shouting, or shrieking. It wasn't meant to have hoarse tones of illness. It was a voice meant for singing, for teaching, for appealing...

"SHUT THE FUCK," He paused mid-sentence and rose the last of the bottle to his mouth, downing it as glass brushed against the bristles of his unshaven chin. Ayden watched with horror as he threw the empty whiskey bottle down and let it shatter into fragments upon the floor. "UP!" Came the conclusion. A snap knocked the door down with a single kick after drunken hands couldn't pry the handle loose. He has once been a military man; discharged, dishonourably, but he still kept knowledge of the corps deep within him.

She saw the fire, the drunken conviction, the hatred and burning malice in those vortexes of disgusting spite he called eyes. In horror, she too was frozen in place for a split-second; before she turned and ran. She ran. And like she did every time, she didn't run fast enough. He caught up; only taking moments. Large, beefy, clammy hands wrapped around slender, pale wrists, and with a simple exertion of force, knocked her to the floor, sending her reeling, her head hitting the vomit-stained carpet with a dull thud. Various screams racked the building from side to side; screams the young boy had long since become used to. "You need," Came the dull, thrumming, drunken growl as he spat down towards her face. "...to learn a fucking lesson,"

She struggled and writhed beneath his grip, but he had her pinned. His knee went straight to her chest, pushing her down until she spluttered before he eased back up, that same grin she'd come to fear so very much wracking her with harrowing foreboding of the agony she'd endure. And with a creak, the closet doors of the other room opened, and the silver-haired child, silent, pale, and stunned, stumbled into the room and stood clutching his whitened knuckles as he watched his father undo his belt, totally unwitting of the child's presence despite his mother's tears and croaking.

The mother tried to signal for her child to leave, but he was fastened to the ground. Raising back up, he took the belt in his hands and grinned, coiling it until the buckle sat right at the end with the thick leather clamped in his hand. "And I have your lesson right here," And he watched as his hand came up in an arc, and back down with a vicious swoop. He watched as the metal drew hot crimson lines across her skin and tore through her rags of clothes easily. He watched as his mother screamed as his father beat her mercilessly, the image frozen immortal in his mind, time fastening it shut with only a single audio track of the same noise repetitive ringing out over, and over, and over, and over...

Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. Thwap...

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ENTRY #3

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:47 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: CHERRYBROOK SCHOOL :: 1991

Pale fingers trailed over the page in front of him. Small, calloused bumps beneath in an order only a handful of people recognised. The doctor's diagnosis from over six months ago still rung in his ears every time he "read" like this, flicking through a book and simply brushing his hands over the otherwise-unintelligible mass of dots.

A sigh escaped from the young boy's mouth and he clapped the book shut. Barely six years old, Ayden Derocha had slowly lost his sight over the past eighteen months. It had begun as a slow deterioration; details slowly became foggier and foggier at distance. Then once-defined shapes twisted into intangible blurs. Fear took the boy when he slept, shadows moving above him, flailing around and tucking him in. Unknown to the youth that it was simply his mother's flitting form, as soon as night descended, he would crawl into his bed and shelter beneath the covers.

Black spots appeared not long after, encroaching into the plane of view and vision. Before long, Ayden could only see directly in front of him, and was tapping about haphazardly with a walking stick. It wasn't long ago that veiled curtains of true shadow were drawn upon his eyes, and all the vibrant colours of the world soon turned to naught but black. Ayden Derocha was blind.

His parents had no money to send him to a specialist school for his disability, so for six months now, he had been enrolled in regular school. He'd taken the first few months off under his father's supposed "tutelage", even then, to save him from all the wailing, but Lukas Derocha, despite his many attempts to kick the alcoholism again and again, found it crawling back over him and possessing him like a cold, trembling wave once more.

The state wouldn't offer a grant; Creta had too many blind children, especially in this district, to fork out money for every case. So Ayden was sent to school. His father had told him things that made him feel no better, even the child could sense the false undercurrents beneath. "Toughen up and take it. You'll be all the better for it."

The boy's pale, lithe hand pushed the book back across the table and used his feet to drag himself back along the ground, stopping just before the banister behind him. Too many times before had he hit it and sent an unsavoury shock rippling through his spine. Blindness did that to you; it made you aware. Your other senses and your memory became acute to compensate for everything that you lost when your sight disappeared. Spatial awareness became a must. You never made a single mistake twice.

The school had a compact enough library; the other two blind children at the school who suffered for a similar predicament ignored the young boy as he sighed quietly once more. Though they weren't fully deprived of their sight, yet; they looked towards him with fuzzy vision and ill-working sight. This wasn't the life for a child. No vibrant colours. No perfect sights. No awe-inspiring pictures. He'd been given vision and then it had been taken away from him moments later. And whilst it made him value everything else, Ayden no longer had that dreaming, careless sense that the others flitting about and playing tag outside still possessed. No. A brutal and bitter understanding of reality and just how unfair the dies of fate had long-since been instilled within.

The six year old couldn't understand. Why? What had he done to deserve this? To him, it was all just one sorrow after another. Like a donkey taunted with a carrot on a rod, he'd had his vision given to him, then yanked away by some supreme being he didn't believe in as punishment. Or maybe it was just toying with him? Making him go through life like this to see how he dealt with it?

He felt alone in the cold wastelands of Creta. At only six years old, he felt truly alone. A father that didn't care for him. A mother that couldn't. "Shh..." A neck of almost falcon-like power, even at such a young age, snapped immediately to the library's door. He couldn't see them; his eyes a dull, tethered grey as he stared unknowingly at them with the watch of a hawk. His senses were acute enough to sense incoming crowds of youths attempting to be quiet.

As if he were deaf, that same one spoke again. "Don't mind him," He heard a not-so-hushed whisper; obviously to a new initiate of their little playgroup. Something he was meant to hear. "We don't like playing with him, because he can't... see." The joyous, malicious laughter of a child who purely doesn't understand rang out loud. The child slumped back in his chair, his face more drained of all colour then usual. Bounding, ethereal silver locks draped down his chin as tears stained the tissue of his face from blind eyes. He couldn't see, but he could still cry.

The other blind children ignored him. They pushed their chairs out and simply took their books elsewhere. There were no choking sobs, no wailing; these weren't petty tears of a child. These were tears of true regret, true unhappiness, and true sadness. School was to be an escape for him; an escape where he could learn from his Braille books, not tortured by the flocks of children who wanted nothing more than to poke fun at the silver-haired blind child because as if he were a simple freak.

No-one came to help him, the same as always; the children below fetched their books and exited quickly, laughing as they went. The young Ayden's hand, trembling, wiped the globules of salty water from his eyes and brushed them aside, sniffing back the last of it as he shuffled his chair in once more. At least he could find solace in one thing. Clack. His guide stick fell to the floor, set off balance again as he moved the chair, reaching out desperately for the book upon the table, fingers brushing upon the raised Braille title: "General Biology Textbook: The Way Our Body Functions".

Flipping it back open and returning swiftly to the page he'd shut it at, red, streaky marks running down his face from where he'd been crying, Ayden did the only thing he could - he found solace in the only place he could. A book. Between the lines of sorrow ridged on his face, he smiled, and his fingers tightened their grip around the book's spine. A look of satisfaction... fulfilled hunger. An almost gleeful grin amidst the image of unhappiness upon the small child's face.

If he couldn't have friends...

...then at least he had knowledge.

(Next entries: Ayden meets Heart
Ayden goes to LMS
Ayden bullied
Ayden uses alchemy for the first time
Ayden tells Heart about the bullies/uses alchemy to stop them
Ayden's mother's funeral
Ayden moves into Heart's store permanently
Ayden is sent to Xing
Ayden's eyes are healed by Wu
Ayden's first kill (driver)
Ayden buys the Children
Ayden pulls up at the Ballzini estate)

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ENTRY #4

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:48 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: 1992

Lancing, searing tendrils of pain launched through his face as he heard his guide stick clatter along the pavement. He had tripped and fallen, again. The rough surface of the pavement had scraped along his right cheek as he'd drifted along the ground. The sun beat down upon his back as he slowly rolled over and frantically threw his hands out, padding around and reaching to check his surroundings and reorientate himself.

A steady groan lurched from the seven-year-old's throat. "Hrgh..." He rose a hand to his cheek and felt a warm liquid trickling down; if he could have seen, he would have seen red. It was blood. Gingerly brushing over the wound, luckily, it was just a scrape; he'd seen worse, but the grazed flesh was still tender. The whining of cars zooming along the roads as he struggled to regain his bearings didn't do much to help him, pitched noises swelling in and out in his peripheral hearing.

His hands brushed out in a long, wide, sweeping, radial motion as he tried to feel around for the guide stick. Fear surged through him. He was going to be late. Ignoring the wet, trickling feeling down the side of his face, the frantic motions only increased in speed; seven-year-old Ayden Derocha was on his knees, trying desperately to feel out for his guide stick, his only comrade in this black world that had treated him so bitterly.

That's when he heard the voice behind him. It was gruff. Coarse. Old and gravelly, accompanied by a hoarse undertone of calloused fingers brushing against stubble. "Looking for this, kid?" Immediately, he spun around. Pale, grey, unseeing eyes flickered up to the source of the noise, and then he felt the metal end of his guide stick brush against his hand. Familiarity with the cold surface made the child beam as he grabbed for it, nodding his head slowly.

A quick swish, and all-too-swiftly, the cold metal was gone once more. "You're blind," The voice stated, with a gentle undertone of surprise. "You've gotta come in here for a moment, kid. We need to get you fixed up," Ayden shook his head vigorously and swallowed down the pain, scrabbling to his feet, and standing, defiant as ever, with his hands on his hips.

"I got to get to school!" He said. "Mister, just give me my stick, please?" His voice was chilling. It was young, yes; but there was something there. Almost as if it was haunted, cold as metal with some chilling ethereal element tied to it, as if he were possessed. But looking into those faded grey eyes, the man the voice belonged to knew that this was nothing supernatural. He was alone. He felt alone. The purple-yellow patchwork welts and bruises on the side of his neck told a different story altogether. Was that the handiwork of bullies? Or... something worse, altogether?

The man frowned. "You're not going anywhere lookin' like that," He said, before reaching out to grasp the child's arm. "You need to get fixed up," He remembered what his mother had told him in one of her better moments, when she was walking, out of bed, and his father had left her able enough to speak. Never to follow strangers. Just politely pass them by. But panic surged through him as the child processed his words; looking like what?! How bad was it?!

"Is my face..." He couldn't bring himself to finish the words. Oh, no... images that he'd only read about, brushed over in his Braille books came fleeting and quickly to the front of his mind. Visceral descriptions of how skin had been scraped from bones, flesh torn away and stripped down to sinews, muscles, and tendons, like a working human basis. "Is it-" The man cut him off once more.

"Only a flesh wound, trooper," Another one of those hoarse chuckles. Ayden finally gave way, and wrenched his arm loose, following the man's footsteps as best he could, using his acute peripheral hearing to scrabble his way around. He felt unbalanced without his guidestick, still clamped in the man's hands. "C'mon. Only be a minute," Fear welled up within him as he continued to follow the man. Where... where was he taking him?

As they crossed the threshold and ascended a relatively tall step, the child and man quickly entered a room. The first thing that hit him was the warmth; the ambient backing track of a fireplace's crackling embers availed him as Ayden sucked in deep lungfuls of air, forgetting about the pain for just a moment. And that smell was the greatest that had ever passed into his nostrils. Strong. Musty. Papery. Familiar, yet amplified. Books.

"Where..." He could only tremble, reaching out with his hands like an explorer in uncharted territory, trying to keep his balance and slalom around vicious obstacles which would be child's play for those with vision. Without his guidestick, he was essentially useless; there was no point him going to school without it, anyway. The man had taken it, and, surprisingly, Ayden held no animosity; he wasn't a usual child. He understood that the man the voice belonged to wanted to help him. Begrudgingly, at least. "Where are we?" He finally managed to sputter out.

The voice replied almost immediately. The sounds of fabric tearing rose alarm bells, then, finally, he realised. Bandages, of course. His heart skipped a beat for a moment, but then lapsed back into its usual rhythmic thudding, deep beneath the child's sternum. "My bookstore," The faded grunts of determination echoed a few feet off, accompanied next by footsteps as the man drew closer again. "Hold still for a sec, kid,"

Ayden obliged; at first, over the wound, there was only pressure. A cold, wet cloth pressed against his forehead, mopping up most of the blood. "It's only a scrape, you'll survive," A sharp intake of breath from the hoarse voice as the child heard a sound that could only be the propping of spectacles upon the ridge of his nose, little, thin chains flailing as he did so. The sound of tape drawn and cut with a subtle snip, and before the boy knew it, the dressing was made in near perfection. "Now, don't mess with that," The voice said. "You come back here after school, I'll change the dressing. Need to do that regularly, don't want it to get infected,"

Ayden nodded, and reached out for his guide stick. Cold metal met his hand, and he smiled as best he could up at the man, weakly. "Thank you," He muttered weakly, humbled at the fact that someone had been kind enough to tend to him. He took his guidestick, and all too quickly ran off to school; and then, six hours later after leaving the man to his own devices, returned.

Swiftly enough, the old man removed the dressing; the wound had clotted nicely, but it still didn't show sign of closing. Having noticed the bruises on his neck, the man didn't want to send him home with further wounds... and, grumbling, quickly produced a marker. "What are you doing?" Ayden asked quickly as he held the boy's head and began to draw a primitive pentagram of sorts onto his forehead.

"Hold still," The man said, dodging the question. He popped the cap back onto the marker and let it drift aside, then snapped his fingers, before pressing them against the symbol, the bounds of which fell well outside the wound. Ayden wasn't able to see, but he could still feel; a low thrumming, the sound of electrical discharge, and, quickly, he felt the skin knotting together and tying back over his wound. With another dabbing to wipe the blood away, the man smiled down at the boy and folded his arms. "Good as new."

"How did you..." Ayden stopped himself. A good magician never revealed his secrets. He brushed gingerly over fresh skin, totally in awe. His pale, blind eyes lit up with fire and he stared up at the man emptily, grinning with vigour. "Can you make me see again!?" It was a long shot... but the child knew he'd give anything to have his sight returned. The world had taken it; life was unfair. And for it, everyone had rejected him. His friends. His parents. His classmates.

The silence already gave way for an answer. The boy bowed his head glumly, and the man tried to justify it. "I'm sorry, kid," He sighed, rubbing his stubble. "I'm not that good." He took a few moments to explain; it was called alkahestry, from another country. Xing, far away. And whilst they could heal his sight if he ever went there... Heart didn't know how.

"It's fine," The boy put on a brave face and nodded. Guilt welled up in the man's gut. "Thank you for helping me, mister," He spoke clearly. He'd lived this long with blindness. He could go on like that, until he finally made his way to Xing. "My name's Ayden," He blurted out as if his voice was uncontrollable, a reflex, an aspect he couldn't control, before feeling stupid, and shrinking back into himself once more.

Then he felt a warm hand on his head, tousling his hair. That same gravelly chuckle once more. "My name's Geoffrey. Geoffrey Heart," The old man said with a smile. "But you can call me Mr. G,"

(Next entries: Ayden goes to LMS
Ayden bullied
Ayden uses alchemy for the first time
Ayden tells Heart about the bullies/uses alchemy to stop them
Ayden's mother's funeral
Ayden moves into Heart's store permanently
Ayden is sent to Xing
Ayden's eyes are healed by Wu
Ayden's first kill (driver)
Ayden buys the Children
Ayden pulls up at the Ballzini estate)

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ENTRY #5

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:48 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: LONDON MIDDLE SCHOOL :: 1995

Blind eyes stared out over the field and inhaled. He couldn't see it; but he could hear it, and he could smell it. Fresh-cut grass. Commotion of children playing their various ball games. Ten years old; this was Ayden Derocha, and here he was. The most prestigious middle school institution in all the city, if not the country. London Middle School. People like him from places like he came with an eye on academia could only dream of attending. And, now, he was.

Heart had been giving him extra lessons for the scholarship exam. And with enough practise, by God, had it shown. His hands trailed against the hardwood mantle, and he slumped back into the chair, reaching out to scrabble for and eventually shut the window with a gentle, light sigh. That was all the boy ever really did, sigh. He was entitled to, in honesty.

Since meeting Geoffrey Heart, most of Ayden's time had been spent with him. Most people gave the man strange looks when he announced the silver-haired youth wasn't his son; more a student. A prodigy. The boy had known that it was futile to file in for one place that thousands were applying for. National brains all over the country; and yet he had emerged at the top. Practice had made perfect. Raising a Braille copy of the original letter in his hands, he sighed once more, running his finger back over the bumps.

"OFFICIAL DESIGNATION OF SCHOLARSHIP
THIS LETTER IS AN OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED TO MASTER AYDEN DEROCHA, BIRTHDATE 11TH MAY 1985, FOR LONDON MIDDLE SCHOOL. SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED IS DIAMOND SCHOLARSHIP, WHICH ALLOWS UP TO 100% OFF ALL OFFICIAL SCHOOL AND TUITION FEES."


Ayden didn't understand. A dream he'd never even considered had come to fruition with months of hard work and training. It had all paid off. Everything. He could get an education he dreamed of in a place he knew was beyond perfect. Yet sadness shot through his body like a reflex, something he couldn't control or stem. He should have been happy. He wanted to be happy. But this life, even if all the circumstances had been filled, simply wouldn't allow it.

The door opened. Footsteps of familiar weight entered in as the young blind boy set aside the letter and sighed. He knew who it was before even the second step, and even before that, he'd had a pretty good idea. "Ayden. You got the place." Mr. G had told him not to let the success go to his head; but this was different. Ayden could have been happy, should have; even Heart wanted him to. There was a difference between getting cocky and overconfident and just losing all value and stock in something. "...Ayden?"

"I know." His voice trailed on, devoid of all and any emotion. He didn't speak again. Just those two words. They told Heart enough. He could have intelligence. He could have a teacher. He could have a school and all the lavish letters he wanted. But he couldn't have his vision. He couldn't have his sight. He couldn't have a father who cared for him or a mother well enough to walk. He would have gladly given up everything the world had seen fit to bestow upon him just to hear his mother stop all that coughing.

Ayden hadn't spoke much of his parents or his blindness, but Heart knew that it would have taken a toll on the boy. To have it, then lose it... when you've never known something, you can't wish for it; you can't envy those who have it, because you don't truly know the difference. Those born blind have never experienced sight, colour, shape, structure; but the young boy had. And then it had been wrenched away from him by the cold grips of fate, who had just seen fit to hurl all it could at him. "It's unfair, Mr. G." Heart could hear the boy choking back tears. "I get this..." He rose the letter swiftly, blind eyes still staring out into the field of oblivion. Teardrops trickled down pale cheeks. "But I can't have-"

"I know." Heart cut him off, rubbing ancient, musty fingers used only for opening books in this day and age against bristly white stubble. "I know, Ayden." He sighed. This was going to be difficult. "But you said it yourself," Came the grizzled old man's gentle growl. Like the alpha wolf of the pack. "You said you couldn't let this impede you. That it wouldn't stop you. That you'd rise above it and give it your all, sight or no sight, parents or no parents."

Another pause. "Turning back and giving up won't disappoint me." He ran a hand through old hair. "It'll only disappoint yourself." Once more, the exhalation of a cold sigh upon the clammy, hot summer air of the room. A room that, come September, the boy sitting at the window would know all too well. "It's a challenge. Not a disability." Footsteps resounded through the room once more. The door clicked open and shut. That was Mr. G, alright. Cryptic as always.

Walking back down the hallway with a furrow in his brow, he heard the heavy thud of a textbook striking the door. He stopped in his step, sighed, and pressed two fingers against his temples. He couldn't do anything. He just had to teach the boy. Make sure he knew. Knew how to make his way through this world. How to survive. And not a day before, the boy had asked him... "Mr. G, do you know how to fight?"

Maybe... maybe he could teach him more than that. Maybe it wasn't intelligence. There was blood on his hands, and he'd thought that maybe helping a boy deprived of sight would wash it away; but these were stains that no amount of penance could scrub off. A smile stretched onto his face, and macabre flames flickered in those eyes. All this time, he'd been trying to wash away the blood using the boy... when he could have taught him something else.

Not just how to fight. And not just how to survive. No... how to become his legacy.

(Next entries: Ayden bullied
Ayden uses alchemy for the first time
Ayden tells Heart about the bullies/uses alchemy to stop them/is caught and expelled
Ayden's mother's funeral
Ayden moves into Heart's store permanently
Ayden is sent to Xing
Ayden's eyes are healed by Wu
Ayden's first kill (driver)
Ayden buys the Children
Ayden pulls up at the Ballzini estate)

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ENTRY #6

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:48 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: LONDON MIDDLE SCHOOL :: 1995

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

He'd only been at the school for three weeks and he could tell that no amount of money had helped with the levels of tolerance from the others. London Middle, Cherrybrook, even on the streets of the "grand" old city itself, these kids were brats all the same. Silently he kept to himself in the corner and he felt the stigma washing over him in bleak waves, blindly aware of their gazes as they looked down on him. Whether kids were rich or poor, they always found a way to poke fun at the blind boy.

Whilst he thought that with money came a better upbringing and a higher tolerance, he heard the discourse between suit-clad parents and posh-accented little children crowding around their Range Rovers in the summer as he hoisted up his backpack and walked home on his own. He heard them talk, from up on their elevated pedestals of life, of the silent boy they didn't understand with the pale hair and paler eyes. And he sat and listened as the parents simply waved the issue away. They didn't have time to educate their children to be accepting and tolerant, and to tell them that some people were just different. They were too busy thinking of their facelifts and nosejobs, their sports cars and Armani suits, too preoccupied to consider the ramifications of an intolerant generation that would follow them.

It was startling to Ayden. Back in Cherrybrook he took solace in the fact that the drawling common bullies that poked fun at him would never make it in life, but these kids were just a different breed of the same. It was never open, and they were never free with their discontent in the small preteen devoid of his sight, but he heard it, the whispers whilst his back was turned and the ominous silence as he entered a room. Something that he'd later come to love was what slowly drilled at his mind and begun to drive him insane.

These were children who would be politicians. World leaders. Bankers. Stockbrokers. Their heritage and their upbringing practically secured them a place in Creta's upper class. But Ayden was suddenly realising that life wasn't fair. Morality was relative, and these people could get away with murder for the money in their pocket. He began to realise of the discrimination that the upper class held, and the reason that they jabbed fun at him for a spot of dirt on his jacket or the musty smell of smoke hanging from his shirt. The books he brought to school were worn and faded, not shiny and new; Mr. G had taken him in, but even then, the man was growing old and the bookstore only drew in so much of a profit.

So much sadness and so much resent built up in the boy over time, and school swiftly became a drag, but Ayden rushed "home" every day to find his grey-haired mentor standing there in a tank top and a pair of track pants, the pair of them retreating to the backroom, discussing swiftly the intricacies of each others' days as the Derocha child changed into clothing more befitting: for Heart was teaching the boy how to channel this sadness and resent, and utilise his body for what it was truly worth. With every day came a new move, a new technique, and every three months a fresh discipline. Street fighting, Krav Maga, jiu-jitsu, karate, aikido... over time the child grew up lavishing in the pleasures of one after-school practice for an hour every day, and three hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Martial arts.

The frustration flowed through the blind child like a river and he twisted and flexed his body into shapes that previously the silver-haired boy had thought impossible. And before long, all of that contained discontent with his past, his upbringing, his parents, his school, his teachers who turned their nose up at him, his classmates who poked fun at him, his peers who denied him a proper learning environment, and his forsaken eyesight: it all vanished, poured into one emotion, one amalgamation of everything else that, with a formidable force, swelled behind Ayden's every strike, his every punch, kick, and block... rage.

His body was a tool, even at this age, a testament to this melting pot of martial arts he learnt. Slowly Heart was teaching him now not just how to defend his body and his mortal existence, but to drain himself of sadness through rage, a middleman that allowed him to become a conduit for his own calm. Heart was teaching him now not just how to defend his body: but how to erect barriers around his mind. The boy's bodily resistance strengthened and so did his emotional resilience. He came home, downtrodden and upset, nigh-on every day, and every evening he was reborn in the ashes of his former self, rising up like a silver-haired phoenix refreshed and slicked with his own body sweat.

Those martial arts sessions were all he looked forward to: but neither Heart nor Ayden yet knew that they were paving the way for the child's true destiny in life...

(Next entries: Ayden uses alchemy for the first time
Ayden tells Heart about the bullies/uses alchemy to stop them/is caught and expelled
Ayden's mother's funeral
Ayden moves into Heart's store permanently
Ayden is sent to Xing
Ayden's eyes are healed by Wu
Ayden's first kill (driver)
Ayden buys the Children
Ayden pulls up at the Ballzini estate)

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ENTRY #7

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:29 pm

CRETA :: EAST LONDON :: HEART'S BOOKS :: AYDEN'S BEDROOM :: 1996

"Carbon, granulated, six grams. Check." The stroke of a pencil against the surface of a notepad rung out through the halls of an otherwise eerily silent eleven year-old's bedroom. "Dried hardwood, nineteen grams. Check." A second pencil stroke. "Charcoal, one piece, check." That made three. "And now..." The boy's frame, growing with every passing day, reached over the desk and drew up a large piece of paper, rolled into a bundle, almost instinctively, as something he'd placed there earlier. "...a surface."

Momentarily, as he moved all of his ingredients, plus his notebook and pencil, down onto a neat cleared square on the floor, he reflected on how he hadn't been home in what was almost six days. He had his own room in Heart's shop, something the man had given him happily; and his mother was probably worried sick - provided she wasn't ill, again. His father was most likely a different story, wandering around the house in a drunken stupor, occasionally agitated by the disappearance of his only progeny.

He blinked once with blind eyes and shook the issue out of his head. Really, it didn't bear thinking about. He hated it there, and he was old enough - and mature enough - to see coming that the day he turned sixteen his father would boot him onto the streets. For all intents and purposes, this place was his home. This was where he belonged.

He rolled out the paper with a quiet "oomph" and propped it down with a pair of weights on opposite corners. Then, slowly, he reached up for a book, already opened at the right page, and set it down next to his surface. He rose the charcoal, and with his every motion bleeding absolute devotion and an inexplicable amount of care, he gently carved black lines into the paper, first into a circle and then fleshing it out further, as the drawing in the book dictated. Lines filled through and suddenly within the circle there were a pair of charcoal triangles, touching at the tips. He blew away the soot-like grit that the charcoal had produced, sweeping off the debris, and it was finished: a shape familiar to many who shared a single art.

A transmutation circle.

It was difficult for a blind child to learn alchemy when the art required sight more than most others. Transmutation circles, descriptions, ingredients lists... all had to be painstakingly etched and imprinted out in a raised format he could read not with his eyes, but with his fingers, memorise everything not visually but spatially and by touch. It had taken him time, moreso than it would have for one with eyes, but Ayden had gritted his teeth and simply gotten on with the impossibly long list of tasks ahead of him.

Raising the two jars that contained his "ingredients" as he set down the charcoal, he at first tipped out all of the ground-up wood shavings into the epicentre of the circle, and following that the granulated carbon, falling as a sooty black dust with a minute cloud as it settled in a pile. With that, he cast the jars aside, and shoved the charcoal away. His heart began to beat a steady rhythm as he raised his hands, closed those blind, pale, sightless eyes of his, and took the longest, deepest, greatest breath he had in what felt like eons.

Then he slammed his hands down against the very fringe of the circle; and as if by magic, from his very fingertips launched great forks of electrical discharge. The room seemed to darken and the lightbulb flickered, and in a split-second, this energy began to revolve and circulate around him with a crackling in the air and the floor. Ayden felt his very form begin to gyrate and vibrate, his head reeling and his balance shaking. A comfortable heat began to swell around his form and pick him up; and the oddest of tingling sensations ran from the tips of his fingers up to his palms, and carried on til his shoulders; until, finally, everything stopped, the room fell silent, and the light returned proper. It was complete.

Trembling fingers reached forwards, one question echoing in the cavern of the boy's mind. "Had it worked?" And as the pale digits wrapped against the warmed, cooling length of a freshly-crafted pair of finely-tapered pencils, a grin began to worm its way onto his face. Wood had refined itself and carbon had become graphite. This was Ayden Derocha's first foray into the world of alchemy: and unlike anything he'd felt so far, it was a success. It was empowering, and it filled him with an odd sense of pride, one he wasn't truly accustomed to. He stood up, and set the pencils down upon the table with a widened smile on his face.

Then he felt a cold breeze from the stairs, and turned around. There was a presence in the room; a familiar one, but a new one as of a few moments ago. He opened those blind eyes again and heard the voice of his mentor: "You're learning faster than I thought..." Heart moved over and crouched by the surface, nodding, rubbing the remaining sooty debris between his fingers with a slow, lurching chuckle from that hoarse, aging throat of his. "We're going to have to accelerate your training, now that I know you have the potential..."

"W-what do you mean?" Heart could be ominous and mysterious, but never to the point that Ayden was utterly puzzled. Here, it sounded as if there was some ulterior motive, some overhanging plan that he wasn't aware of: and there was, for Ayden Derocha was to become more than a student.

Heart shuffled forwards and crouched down on one knee to put himself at the same level as Ayden with a smile, nodding as he scanned the boy's grey, empty eyes. "My dear boy, you're going to be an alchemist." He was to become his legacy.

(Next entries: Ayden tells Heart about the bullies/uses alchemy to stop them/is caught and expelled
Ayden's mother's funeral
Ayden moves into Heart's store permanently
Ayden is sent to Xing
Ayden's eyes are healed by Wu
Ayden's first kill (driver)
Ayden buys the Children
Ayden pulls up at the Ballzini estate)

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