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Vercingtorix
Vagabond Citizen
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Age:

8 [Year 496 Fall]

Gender:

Male

Pronouns:

He/his/him

Orientation:

Homosexual

Breed:

Warlander X

Height:

18 hh

Health:

10

Attack:

10

Experience:

10
Offline

Last Visit:

12-04-2019, 11:21 PM

Joined:

06-27-2019
Signos: 70 (Donate)
Total Posts: 9 (Find All Posts)
Total Threads: 4 (Find All Threads)

Those from his homeland said he was blessed. The old gods made him gold, the purest of colours, and metals. He wears a sun-charm for luck and the blessing of an older god, still. He is dark and light and the colour of wealth and pain.

Vercingtorix is a hard stallion. It is clear his is a body of utility, versus vanity. Somehow, however, the two manage to coincide. He is immaculately groomed and, unlike many others from his homeland, he wears his hair long and often in a tied-back half-bun. His tail is leonine, ending in a white and gold plume, and each haunch is adorned with spots reminiscent of some fearsome wildcat, a jaguar or leopard. They are gold, gold, gold, and the sheen on them in some light is nearly metallic. Each of his legs is darkened by black socks, and one of his hooves is the same colour of his markings. His head is black, and his neck is gold again, as are the reverse badger markings that decorate his turquoise eyes.

As a warlander with strong Andalusian influence, as well as some Friesian, he is a large but athletic equine. He reaches 18 hands at the shoulders. Despite his height, nothing about him suggests bulkiness; instead, Vercingtorix is merely large. He is the epitome of what a warhorse ought to be, with a deep barrel and extremely powerful, thick limbs. There is an elegant, nearly aristocratic arch to the posture of his head.

It is clearly suggested, however, that he is far from aristocratic. entire body is mottled in various scars, the most obvious ones being near his neck and eye. In addition, he walks with a permanent limp in his left hind leg from a rather nasty fall from a cliffside. He experiences some chronic pain from the old injury, although he rarely mentions it.

If Boudika were to answer the question, “What is Vercingtorix like?” her jaw would set, and her eyes would turn into a fire that was neither love nor hate, but something in between. He is not the sort to evoke half-measures. He is everything, and he is empty.

He is the perfect son.

And within him rages a hollow necessity, a hunger for more, more, more that cannot be answered or filled. He is a restless perfectionist. A wild megalomaniac. A self-assured narcissistic and, simultaneously, an empathetic and involved leader. He is dutiful, and charming, and suave. And many other things. Humorous, wise, quick. Vercingtorix has a great many skills, and difficult things come to him much easier than they do to many others. He lives for challenge, both physical and mental; he strives forever toward a greater venture, a higher mountain, and with his natural athleticism and skilful cunning, very little lays outside his reach. And yet…

Within him is the empty dissonance of a man unfulfilled by a life, a man who struggles with purpose, a man who cannot discover love. He is domineering, misoginistic, and judgemental. He is exquisitely, painfully alone.

Does it not make sense that he is the result of a lifetime of attempting perfection? Of nearing it, so many times?

He is inauthentic, polished, and measured. There is a certain composure Vercingtorix exhibits that is uncommon in men; he is articulated in both speech and mannerisms. Although not born a gentleman, he has learned the political disposition of a man capable of great charisma and tact. There is something in him that, from our world, we might regard as southern diplomacy. Nothing he says is not thought through, elaborately and while he is not a man of many words, he is a man of meaningful ones.

And yet, contrarily, he is a man’s man. He is rambunctious, sometimes cruel, and possesses a need for brotherhood that borders on addiction. His confidence stems directly from his brotherly relationships with other males; and without that social security, he often finds himself reeling. He is a military officer. His entire life has revolved around becoming as adept at his profession—which is both the saving of and eliminating lives. Torix is the result of a profession that does not allow anything less than one’s absolute best. He possesses a rotten mouth and a desire for fierce, violent competition. Within him is an unerring desire to be the best, the smartest, the fastest, the strongest. He pits himself against others of similar nature, and possesses the contradictory humility to come away from defeat with only a slightly bruised pride, and infectious laughter.

Torix is perfect in the way an ideal is perfect. Perfect in the way a picture is perfect. There is a certain idea that has gone into the type of man he was meant to be, and that ideal is one Torix exudes in confidence. He is dependable, disciplined, clever, and seemingly quite kind. And truthfully, Torix is empathetic; he cares deeply for his men and his purpose, and cannot imagine himself separated from either. He is man of quick decisions, action, and never thinking too critically about any facet of his personality. He is image-focused; he cares too much about the judgement of others; and in his mind he cannot fail. It is the confidence that has suited him well in life; it is also the confidence that has the potential to be his undoing. Torix is rarely ruffled, and rarer still does he express anything negative or unseemly.

He is disciplined and habitual, good at work, any work, and a perfectionist in everything he endeavours toward. Torix cannot stay still. He cannot stop working. And the hours are late for him, and the days are long, and if he is not working he might as well be dead, because nothing else matters the way that working matters. He is the type of man that would die without a purpose and, perhaps, nearly has.

The boy I loved was a lie. The boy I loved never existed. I want to tell them that, when they write the histories of our people—that everything is gone, with that, that everything is a lie, and there is nothing else left.

I was raised to be a soldier. The best. My entire life was dedicated to it.

And:

It was over in a blink. It was over when the boy I loved became a lie.

I was never taught how to do anything else.

But I can’t tell them that. I can’t say those words. It would be like dying twice. It would be spitting on my honour.

There’s none left. There’s no one left to fight, here. They said that the war would never be over. They said it was everything. It was all I ever knew; it was my future. And there’s no future left, without them. Not for me.

And don’t you know, it’s my fault? I can’t tell anyone that, though. I see it in their eyes. They blame me. They hate me.

Maybe they had the real victory.

Maybe we Bound our souls too.

— “Good morning, sir. Captain Vercingtorix reports to General Haskra as ordered."

“Good morning, Captain. Please. Take your seat. Would you like any refreshments? No? Very well. I suppose its s a little early for bourbon. Let’s get straight to it. We have been thinking of the way to best demilitarise after the conclusion of the Final War. It is unsustainable to continue to have such a highly functioning military, with over ninety percent of the young men employed in some capacity by the marines or army units… With that said, there are a select few officers we are seeking to retain throughout the next several years, on advanced-standing contracts. Your name is the first one on every list.”

“Well, sir, I am extremely honoured that you’ve thought of me.”

“Of course. Your qualifications are outstanding. Not only were you a participant in the Final War, you were involved in the capture of the Khashran prince Orestes. You are also single-handedly responsible for revealing the betrayer Boudika, not as an honourable soldier, but of a housewife playing soldier for the last eight years. Your father, of course, is one of our most esteemed generals and has been for years at this point. We need someone of your caliber to lead us into the future. With that said, we are offering you a promotion to Colonel, as well as a special assignment to the Recon Fleet of Whisper Battalion. We intend to amass a number of ships in the near future to explore nearby islands, ensuring the Khashran are eradicated, and taking territory for our people. These will be some of the only military operations in the near future and we would be honoured to have you at the very tip of the spear. When you accept, of course, there will be some additional special operation training for the Whisper Battalion and yourself—“

“Sir—sir, I’m sorry to interrupt, but—“

“—not to insult you, it is just a matter of our changing mission. We need you skilled in reconnaissance, you see, and beach landings from seaborne vessels—“

“Sir—“

“—not to mention subduing local populations with minimal forces in order to secure positions of most control—“

“Sir, excuse me—“

“—there’s many valuable resources out there, specifically land. We’ve been confined to these islands for far too long—“

“General.”

“Ah, yes, Captain?”

“I am humbled and honoured by the offer, but I plan to not renew my contract this spring. I plan to go into the civilian sector.”

“Well, Captain, this comes as quite the surprise. Does your father know?”

“Not yet, sir. But with all due respect, the decision is mine."

“Very well, Captain. This is an unexpected turn of events. If you don’t mind, Second Lieutenant Karr will show you out.”

“Aye, aye sir. Thank you again, sir. Captain Vercingtorix dismissed as ordered.”

------

When I think of the sea, it is red.

It is bloated with beached whales and orcas snapping their teeth at the sand, sprinkled with golden dust. It is teeming with life and death, as water horses transform a thousand times into things incomprehensible, sea-serpents and krakens, sharks and whales, dolphins in the shallow surf, and then horses with teeth like the rows of a great white’s slashing at me. It is red with their blood, and maybe mine. The surf is foaming at my hooves and it is red, and sizzling where the metal dust meets the Khashran blood, and the memory always makes me think of the first time I saw one. When I think of the sea, I think of the sound of water crashing against black cliffs and the sound, always, of my name on the wind—Vercingtorix!—as the ground falls beneath me and the water horse becomes water, and eels, and a leopard seal, and a shark, and then a hundred small fish, and I am falling but holding him to me with the golden-chain net, and always, my name—Vercingtorix!—and then the sea looks red again, and I do not know where he ends and it begins.

When I think of Oresziah, I think of stone houses and the academy. I think of growing up with a hundred other boys and learning the only art that mattered, back then—the killing art. When I think of my childhood, I think of the sound of shattering glass, and a father who would always be better than me. Not enough, boy I hear, and it smells too much like whiskey. He was a general, once. A president later.

When I think of dying, I think of falling asleep. I think of the feeling of being awoken by a jolt, as if falling. Yes. When I think of dying, I think of falling—I think of tumbling from black cliffs into the surf and holding on, with everything I was capable of, to a shape that was not a shape but water. It should have killed me. But somehow, it did not, and I still remember the ocean crashing against the dark black cliffs and the sound of my name—Vercingtorix!—on the wind. I think of tasting briny water and blood. I think of kicking the sea, and drowning, and how even then everything was red.

I think of my father. Larger than life. With one of the Princes, one of the last princes but not the last prince; his head grotesque and decapitated; and those eyes are not red like the sea but blue like it should be, and blind in death, and my father tells me that I was meant to do more, more, more. That I was meant to end them all; to annihilate them; to foster genocide.

And I think of the cliffs. I think of what he looked like, the Last Prince, how he was younger, how he was all dappled grey, the colour of a storm that did not storm, but cried, dripping tears instead of rain. I remember that moment, when I saw him, and thought I should take him alive; I remember it as a pivotal piece of time, as the moment that would change everything, and I wish I could take it back. I wish I looked away. I wish I let him go. But I didn’t. That part of the memory is clear. I wanted to capture him—I wanted everyone to cry my name, Vercingtorix, Vercingtorix, Vercingtorix, the killer of the Khashran, the hero of Oresziah—and when think of him, I take him like a lamb for slaughter again and again. The slaughter is in my name, and the blood was for my own dark gods.

And somewhere in those memories there is a boy running in front of me, a boy of copper and soot, and I love him. He is the boy I lost, when I slaughtered the lamb—he is the boy who cried my name from clifftops. I think of him in the beginning, when they cut our hair at the academy. I think of him in our shared squad-bay and his bright eyes. He whispered to me, about greatness and what it meant. About being more than just a son. He told me what I was, and who I would be, and I believed the adoration in his eyes. When I think of him, he is like the colour red of the sea, and has a smile that is half-cocked, nearly shy, but always the name on the lips—Vercingtorix—and he is the only one that calls me that, my full name, and I love him for it. I call him companion. The only one, who is called companion, and my whole life is his life and he is my partner, my shield-arm, and I are nothing without him—

When I think of him, it aches like a violin. When I think of him, I think first of sunlight—and then of iron bars, and the ugly wailing of the Khashran in the storm, the sound of splintered wood, of condemnation when they said, she will die. When I think of him, I feel betrayal like a hot knife. And I cannot tell if it is slipping through my ribs, or I am pushing it through his.

So I don’t think of him. I think of her. And I hate her, with everything I can muster. I hate her more than I ever hated the Khashran—perhaps because it was her, and not me, that the Khashran died. Perhaps it was her, not me, that ended them with a deft pull of a golden chain when I fell, and she thought I died.

I hate her because she loved me back, and I never knew the truth of it, that my companion was a traitor. Until it was too late. Until she had my heart in her teeth and made it bleed, with a love that was an ache that was a desperation that was a condemnation that was a war, and then I was nothing when she died.

Because when I think of the sea, I think of her swimming in it, surrounded by sharks. I think of the long strikes of her white legs in the dark water, as though I am below her staring up, and I think of what it would be like for a great predator to circle the struggling thing in the froth of the sea. I think of her sinking on a ship I placed her on. And I think of how I cannot forgive myself.

And so I do not think about it. I just feel my hatred like a craving.

And somehow that craving has taken me far from home. Somehow the glory was not enough, and my name, Vercingtorix, Vercingtorix, Vercingtorix whispered by everyone, even my father, was not enough. There was no more war, after her. There was no more war, after the Khashran with a colour like a storm that was crying. The entire purpose I had been bred for, built for, designed for, was forgotten. Dead. No more war. But I was the warrior—the son with promise—the general’s son. When they called for volunteers to venture into the foreign seas, the seas once thought impassable due to the Khashran, I volunteered. I wanted to know. And they found me a ship and they found me a crew and I was going to leave—

But there was another ship, and another crew, and they did not know my name.

And I went with them, instead, with a hatred gnawing on my ribs, howling for release, a hatred that consumed.

I was the perfect son. But it was not enough.

———

It was weeks before I left.

My father walks in.

He says, “Son, you can’t keep—“ and his voice breaks in a way it shouldn’t break.

My father’s white face flushes.

The blood pools. Embarrassed.

“I can’t keep what?”

And the boy in my bed is stirring from the sheets. The boy in my bed is blinking sleep from his eyes.

My father looks away.

My stomach is a bed of worms.

Is this what it feels like, to become a disappointment?

My father doesn’t have the words. He leaves.

The boy stirs. He gets up. He kisses my collarbone.

I don't have the words.

The boy leaves. The bed is empty.

I can hear my heart. It is fine, I tell himself. There were plenty of others who would be there, if he ask. There were plenty of others—and maybe his mouth tasted a little too much like whiskey, anyway. Maybe he looked a little too much like her—

Outside I can hear the sea.

The seagulls are laughing.

My mother knew I was leaving. She was the only one. And the irony of it was she was, perhaps, the only one who didn’t care. My mother hated me. She hated me the way women of my land hate all men: as their keepers, their condemnation. I loved her anyway.

But she came, when I was staring out the window toward the sea. My father had an oceanside estate; a fortress; a lookout property. He prided himself on it. He boasted it. It was a great and terrible honour, for when the Khashran came, it was always to those establishments. He was the self-named guardian of the city.

I had always hated the view. I had always hated the smell of brine and fish, and the way the water broke loud enough on the cliffs that I could hear it when I slept. When storms hit, they hit with a legendary ferocity. The stone foundation of our home would shake; the walls would quiver. She stared out the window at me. If we shared anything, it was the fact we shared a prison.

“I know.” She said, quietly. And then: “If it’s because of the girl, Torix, please don’t leave. A girl isn’t worth—“

“It isn’t because of him--of her…”

“Then why?”

And the sun is setting out at sea. It does not lighten the dark cliff, but it turns the water red, red, red.

“I can’t stay. I don’t know who I am if I stay. There is nothing left for me here. It isn’t the girl. It isn’t.”

And I cannot look at her.

I cannot look at her. She is too much of me. And she would say, “It is” and she would be right, and then I would stay. But if I do not look at her, I can deny it. I can deny it has nothing to do with the girl. With the boy, who lied to me.

If we were a different mother-son pair, it would have been scenic. It would have been nuanced, to stare out toward the ocean on such a beautiful day. It was a calm sea, a welcoming sea, and there were newly built ships somewhere down in harbour with their masts wound up for travel. Down there, too, was a pirate ship. I knew that. She knew that. And the scene was not beautiful because of it. The scene was not beautiful because we both hated the beautiful thing we stared at: we hated it so that it sickened us, corrupted us, and we knew it. It had stolen too much. It demanded too much.

She said: “Don’t.” This is as close to begging as her pride will allow her to reach. My wild mother. My mother, touched by the sea. My mother whom I look like. My mother who taught me perfection was obtainable, if you just pretended, if you just didn’t let anything touch you…

“I have to.”

And the waves break, again and again. She stands there with me for a long time. A very long time. “You won’t find what you’re looking for out there if you can’t find it here. You’ll just be running.”

I am a stone, sinking into water. I am too heavy to float and the current carries me, just briefly. But my destiny is that: to sink, and sink, and sink, and the light will fade and the darkness will eat me up, until I hit the bottom. I feel like that. I feel that I am that stone, and I am already sinking. And I say, “I know.”

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Syndicate (PM Player)

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