As the faint flickering light of a distant torch barely illuminates the desk in front of me, I find myself staring at the empty bundle of parchment on it. Like what is left of my soul, it is waiting to be filled with words. Fragments of memories. Fragments of feelings.
I do not know why this drives me so. I revel in the loneliness of this place, as far as I can revel at anything. The heavy, oppressive silence of the grave is like a friend to me. The only one I have left.
Yet the memories of what I used to feel are strong still. I have known love and passion, but love and passion are ever only a prelude for loss and hatred and anguish. The emptiness inside and outside is my armour now. I have protected myself for so long, I no longer know if I am still capable of feeling anything at all. If I could feel hope, I might hope I am merely suppressing it.
This empty page in front of me beckons me. Drives me. Whispers to me. In the emptiness of my self-chosen grave, it is the loudest thought.
I do not know where to start my story. I have no desire to begin when my life did. Naive, young, impressionable. Foolish, so foolish. I had not learnt my lessons back then. When I had allowed myself to truly love for the first time. For the last time. Or so I believed.
No. These were merely the first memories which would set me up to become the broken, shattered and rotten shell I am today, but they were not my beginning. Not truly. Memories of the silver-haired maid will never leave my rotten heart. My true family for a brief time. But not my beginnings.
Maybe I was truly born when Kaj Jollies fell, when the kobolds slaughtered everyone and everything not consumed by the fire. When the Circle shattered, dispersed into the four winds. When my heart bled away with every tear I shed, for then was the first time I truly had lost everything
I believe it was when the tears stopped and the void inside me began to fill with something else. Something dark and grim and grey I did not expect, and could not counter. Like tendrils of despair suffocating the remainders of my soul, filling in from the cracks caused by the despair of loss.
I was weak, then. Naive. But something powerful grew in me. And though I hated what I was becoming, what I already had become, it truly was my beginning.
Without food or coin, I took a job as a monster hunter. Three children had disappeared from a small village on the edge of nowhere, and my skills at tracking at least had not faded away. I would find whatever creature was responsible for the disappearance and stop it, to earn enough coin to continue my travels to nowhere.
My name is Anaya. I have been called a mother, a sister and a lover. A monster, by some. Ghostbow, once, or the Silver Arrow. I have been feared, and loved. And only the fear remains now.
If someone reads these words, may they understand. I do not seek forgiveness or redemption. I do not know what I seek, but this is how my story begins.