This short story is based off the backstory of one Dolphus Gorov, a character in the Boards RP Tales of Glory and Valour . I would highly recommend joining if you like to write.
Birds circled high above.
The sun beamed down into the ruined alleyway, what had once been a hall filled with the rich and influential as they waited in line to enter the greatest theatre in the whole summer armada, where plays of classic literature and stories favored by the entourage of the King were enacted by the most professional actors and actresses in the world.
None, of course, could compare to the professional and militaristic act of the Gorovs, who had once been so powerful and influential in the Armada it would be difficult to find a brick in the road not indirectly financed and placed by the delicate threads of their empire. Yet so careful and so cunning was the web spun that most who learned of the Gorovs knew them only as a wealthy mercantile family, unaware beneath the waves lied the few who happened into their bloodied path - the ones who crossed them had not even a watery tomb to be remembered by.
Yet everything waxes old and decays under the indomitable wheel of time, and as the once great theatre had been reduced to a ruin used only to dispose of waste from ships, so too the Gorovs had crumbled down, first to centralize the mighty power of their impassible grip into the clutches of one man - Gregor Gorov - and then, in the fullest return investment on wickedness sown, to nip it from the stalk.
The last financial anchor loosened not by Armada politics had been torn from its hold, and the start of a dangerous year for the isles. Vying for political power, the multiple naval factions in the region could easily escalate to war in order to fill the gap in power unknowingly left open, if only it could be spotted. But that is neither here nor there, or anywhere - right now it’s an alley, a sun, and a seagull pecking the face of an unfortunate young man in a fix.
Before he could truly understand his face was in discomfort at the pointed perusal, he knew where he was lying. Yes, that alley. A sensation, he supposed, seeing as he was flat on his back amidst a pile of ruined tarps, blackened canvas, and fish… components, with no visual bearing to nail down his precise location.
But he knew.
What was not so certain was how he had arrived here. Mind aching, he pulled himself back into the black cloud of his memory and tried, with the surgical might he had approached his skill with the blade, to pierce the veil. But the veil remained unpierced, his best efforts yielding no fruit. Something behind the veil stirred on its own - a glimmer, perhaps, of what had once been.
What a tremendous help. He rustled the veil with fervor to see if anything else would find the means to free itself, and something did - evil unfathomable reared its gruesome face, a picture of the incarnate spawn of all wickedness and villainy, fury manifest upon his features, his eyes and teeth shining out like blinding lights in a sea of knotted hair, overflowing like the black and gristly hide of a goat. Yes, a fiend as monstrous a reprobate as he surely was would be most akin to a goat.
No. Something was wrong. His was fury, yes, but his was not evil. Or, at least, not when the call was made. Metal hit fire, and the blazing inferno of a stand last taken called for the brave, the selfless, to face impenetrable doom - and whether or not this creature applied, it had answered the call. Defending? No, he stood for naught but the right to stand. A monster was made, a monster impassioned, inanimate, and boiling with the heat of ten thousand suns, as if that Fire so venerated in the repugnant castles of adoration made by that abominable institution of magic had come alive and consumed the world, contained into one room - and this tangled mop of deviltry and fury had stood against the blaze, impudent; the blaze, after all, had dared to stand against him.
And now the scene was there, this awful creature bellowing hate unimaginable in his indignation, looking at the flaming ruin as if it would come alive and spring upon him, to no surprise on his account whatsoever. And yet, and yet… This was both too real and too absurd. There was no possibility that this image, so burned into his brain, could be anything other than a dream, a nightmare conjured to explain events.
Return, he thought, to whence this calamity began and place the pieces in order, regardless of whether or not they desire placement. I shall force them to fit, regardless of corruption of fracture. And so his mind returned to the day he was escorted from the cozy front room of the living to the vile alleyway of the dead.
A fire. Small. It took my arm.
A needle. A blade, sharp. Told the blade no. It took more away.
Feeling. Pain, not my own. Bitterness. I screamed. I didn’t stop.
A sleep. Someone told me a story. In it, a boy lost his arms and became a man, but I didn’t agree.
I was cold.
The fire. That fiend replying.
A trickle had ran down to his stomach, and the seagull’s attempts to intercept it proved to be much too great for him to ignore. Reaction took control, and the grey wing swept across his body, startling the beggar bird. His remaining hand felt to the harsh scrape on the back of his scalp, and the blood running out of it.
I woke up with a wing, and I’m fine with it. He closed his eyes, not opening them again until the sun had nearly crept over the horizon. Somehow, he felt even less sure now of what had been and what could be a concoction brewed by his tired mind. But one thing he was certain of was his presence smashed against a pile of garbage on the outskirts of decent civilization, and what had to happen next.
In spite of his injury and the presence of the veil, he knew the rest of the past, long before this day. There would be some desiring his absence who would stop at little to accomplish that end. Others, too, would recognize him, in spite of his shirtless and otherwise altered appearance. He would need to get clothes, his weapon, and those he knew where to find and how to acquire them discretely.
From now on, Dolphus thought, it’s time to disappear.