Mish’s experience of the world had been reduced to darkness, rustling, and pain: so much pain that he couldn’t even tell where it came from anymore. He had been upset about the warlock burn on his stomach before, but that seemed ridiculous now. He couldn’t even locate that pain underneath the spreading new pain. This new pain started in his eyes, he knew, or rather, in his sockets. Mish tried not to think too much about the fact that he was never getting his eyes back. That he would be blind forever.
Lords of the Sea, his sight was gone forever…his eyes were gone forever—
No. No, he needed to find shelter, medicine, help. What had happened to him was already done, and dwelling on it would only make him feel worse.
He truly had nothing to lose anymore. He had thought the same thing when following that old woman—Garnet, or whatever her name had been—and he had been truly mistaken. But now, he couldn’t think of anything else he could lose. Anything anyone else could do to him would only make death come faster for him, something that part of him wanted.
But there was another part, strong and scared, that would do anything to stay alive. No matter who he had to kill or what horrors he had to face. Even if it meant living as the slave of a warlock, though he truly hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
He didn’t have the slightest idea where he was going. The warlocks had purposefully abandoned him, to die on his own, to “crawl in darkness.” And the Mooric and Highlandic people said Ponticusans were cruel. Peh. Though, warlocks couldn’t really be taken as a representative of any culture. The warlocks of an area usually took on something of the culture through accidental appropriation, but Mish had to remember that they weren’t from the area.
They weren’t from any area that Mish knew of. They had been entrenched in the world for so long, and all anyone knew of them was that they arrived one day hundreds of years ago, and they would not be gotten rid of: even now, with them having fallen out of power in Ponticus and it seemed at least partially in the Moors and Highlands as well. They spoke a different language, had different customs, and possessed powers unseen in any other culture that Mish knew about. There weren’t any warlock apprentices in Ponticus. There weren’t any children who discovered they could summon fire. Warlocks were something outside that had moved in and taken over, an invasive species.
I need to get home. The thought came strongly and suddenly, and Mish was quite startled by it. He did want to get home, but that wasn’t the most important task ahead of him. First, he needed somewhere to get cleaned up and make sure he wasn’t going to die from his blinding, or from the burn that had incapacitated him in the first place. As he thought about “home,” he didn’t necessarily think of Ponticus, though as he thought longer about getting home, he did really want to leave this cruel and godless country. He needed to find shelter, food, water, medicine though it was a long shot.
He noticed something in the back of his head: almost like a thought, but it didn’t taste like one of his own thoughts. Mish stopped his useless walking for a moment and held onto a tree branch for balance as he examined this odd feeling. It was growing, big and black and angry. His heart started to beat more quickly. He wanted to run, but how can you run from something without a body? Maybe he was sensing someone nearby, as the warriors in the tradition of Daun and Mok could do. But he couldn’t tell where this invisible enemy was, so running in any direction would be useless. He might run right into it.
Mish stayed still and strained to hear any sound that would give away the location of this enemy. There was no sound. Just the deafening static in his own head, steadily growing. It grew and grew, and it brought with it an expanding darkness like a curtain closing.
This wasn’t an enemy he couldn’t see; this was something going on in his own head. He tried to fight it back, but he didn’t know what it was or how to stop it, and eventually, he lost contact with everything that told him he was awake. His conscious thought cut off suddenly, like a songbird shot from a tree.
A/N: Silly Mish, you’re not alone. You have Garnet now. Though, to be honest, you’d be better off alone.