whoa a challenge
this happens right after The Trunswick Blade in Tales of the Fallen Beasts
Every night, Devin stared into a mirror.
The light of the campfire illuminated his reflection, making the darkness clear. He had to make sure he was no longer the coward he had been all those years, and in doing so, he would have to face his fears.
He feared himself.
Devin wasn’t sure whether this was a form of cowardice or a narcissism. Perhaps it was a little bit of both.
Before he commenced his ritual, he would peer into Dawson’s tent every night; to ensure he was sound asleep. The little boy appeared at peace, even through all the trauma thrown at him, when he slept, it all faded away.
Devin sat on a log he found, half rotten, though it did the job. Carefully, he untied the knot holding the mask together with one hand, and he caught the mask in his other. He rested the wildcat mask beside him, and then he stared at the fire.
Though the flame was small, it threw sparks into the air. It glowed. It reminded Devin of everything he wasn’t.
Though Devin had tons of power, he never used it for good, or for anything. He didn’t glow. He was like a stone; still and cold.
That night, he wanted to scream at the sky. He wanted to demand the people why he wasn’t them, why he wasn’t as loved. But he knew the answer. The answer was his jealousy, which overtook him every time an important decision had to be made.
The day he and Karmo caused a riot, he gave Devin a mask. Devin held onto it. He thought maybe he would need it.
But he wore it for all the wrong reasons. Not to humble himself, not to hide his past behind a white wall, but to cover his jealousy. He may never be as great as Conor, but maybe, just maybe, he would be a new person if only nobody saw who he was before.
And he hated himself for it.
A soft, dreary voice spoke, “Devin…?”
Instinctively, he shifted around, spotting Dawson rubbing his eyes. “Dawson, what are you-”
The moment Dawson looked up from his sleepiness, he was wide awake, and he screamed. “Devin, what happened to your face?” He backed away as Devin helplessly sat on the log. “What are you?”
He wanted to cover his face with a mask, telling Dawson it was all a dream in the morning. He wanted to tell him a reassuring lie, saying everything his face didn’t say. But no.
No more lying.
Lying destroyed his life. He wasn’t going to allow it to destroy his brother’s.
So he threw his face in his hands, and bled his tears. It started out as a fake cry, but it soon transformed into something so real, he couldn’t stop.
Dawson was still afraid, though less afraid. Perhaps he was shocked by Devin’s outburst, but he didn’t show it. He couldn’t show it.
“I’m so, so, sorry, Dawson.” Devin wiped his pathetic tears with his wrist. “I didn’t tell you.”
“The Bile turned you into a monster,” his brother replied, approaching him. “Something inhuman, both inside and out.”
Devin bit his lip and looked askance. “We’re not all bad.”
Dawson shouted, his face fearful and angry and hateful with pity. “But you’re a monster! That's who you are and you don't change from that!”
The blow hurt him more than any damage a blade could do. The realization that his own brother thought of his as evil made him want to cry again. He wanted to ball his eyes out until dawn. He wanted to rip Conor apart, because, somehow, this was all his doing.
No. I won’t do the very thing that made me this way again.
Maybe I can’t change the damage the Bile did to my face, but I can try to change what it did to my mind.
I can try to change…
I can try…
A stone couldn't throw sparks or warm fires, but two stones create flames.
“I can try.”