I’m thinking this gives you a pretty good impression of how Sirius Nymeron ‘ticks’. Just a note in advance: this is the entirely unedited version just in case you run into all kinds of appalling spelling, grammar and style mistakes 😉
“Rise, Soldier Leonard,” he finally said, his tone hinting at boredom.
Rising stiffly, I noticed that he wasn’t alone. Apart from the usual guards that followed him wherever he went, I saw Dawnelle sitting to his left, casting me a small smile. All in all they almost seemed to drown in the vastness of the hall. Despite all its modern appearance on the outside, the interior of the Palace of Light was more than just hinting at the splendor of ancient castles in what they called the Dark Age, back then.
Only then I became aware of the fact that I’d never even seen the Eye himself this close, in a private audience so to say. Sure, I’d seen him before in one of his glamorous public speeches, but that had always been an affair for the masses.
Shit, that’s what we’ve been waiting for all along. I could off him right now, if only I was fast enough…
…and entirely suicidal.
No, the thought eluded me soon enough. Looking at the Eye’s personal guard I knew enough to discard the very notion of drawing a weapon in their presence quickly. I wouldn’t even get to reach into my coat before I’d die. No, this wouldn’t get me anywhere. This wasn’t why I was here for.
“You called upon me, Your Highness?” I finally asked in a deferring tone as I raised my eyes from the marble floor in front of me.
With a flash the dream of my father’s death came back to me and I felt myself stiffen involuntarily. I didn’t need to look him in the eyes to know that their color was the same light violet that I’d seen through my father’s eyes before he’d died.
Don’t let the color fool you, boy. His are the eyes of a snake… It was pointless to lie to him, pointless. He’ll see. The Eye sees everything…
I could almost taste the bile rising inside me as I remembered the cause why we were here. I had to swallow hard, guarding myself, slamming my shields into place, letting nothing of the resentment that broiled inside myself show.
Ultimately, this was merely another thing I’d done before, another aspect of my training and the life I’d chosen. This was but another test and one that would have delighted Orpheus to no end had he lived to see it.
I finally made myself look up, made myself hold that stare of pure amethyst without flinching. Only who tried to hide something would be reluctant to face the Eye’s gaze and I wasn’t about to draw any suspicions onto myself.
To my surprise I found that Nymeron was smiling at me; it was merely a thin crescent line in his silver-bearded face, nevertheless it was there. He looked me over with the same appraising gaze his daughter had studied me the night before. He gave me a faint nod of acknowledgement.
“I see my daughter has chosen you for her guard. Not that I doubt her judgment in any way, but you may understand a father’s worry about the safety of his only daughter. I also trust that you are aware of the honor she did you with this and what this honor entails?”
Bowing my head, I nodded gravely, acutely aware that I actually meant it. Somehow his voice made me want to do exactly what he told me to do. Part of me was terrified as I realized just that, but this part was quickly smothered by a nearly crushing sense that obliged me to obedience.
This was bad. Very bad.
What is going on here?
Did I even care? As long as I did whatever he told me to do, I’d be all right. For a moment I felt myself walking a thin line between pretense and reality; all of a sudden it was hard to think clearly at all.
If I hadn’t known better I’d have called it magic, some sort of hypnosis invading my mind and for a moment I was even inclined to believe my own deception.
Eventually realization of what he was doing hit home though and it cost me everything not to break loose from the hold Nymeron had established on my mind.
“Yes, I am aware of that, Your Highness. It is an honor. At your service.” My voice was surprisingly clear as I spoke at last. Again everything inside me told me that this was the right thing to do, that I wanted to protect the Eye and his daughter with my very life. I prayed very hard that he wouldn’t realize that my vows weren’t as sincere as they appeared to be.
When he spoke next, it almost felt as if he was inside my head. His lips weren’t moving.
“You’ll obey to her and her alone and always be at her side.”
“You’ll protect her with your life if need be.”
“You’ll swear by your life and the Light itself.”
Our World is Safety. Safety is the Watch.
Our World is just, Justice is the Watch.
Our World is good, Goodness is the Eye.
Our lives are pure, Purity is the Light.
Let the Light protect us,
Let the Light judge us,
Let the Light guide us,
Let the Light shine on us,
Always and Forever.
I hadn’t even realized that I’d spoken alound, but when I came around again, it was Dawnelle’s hand who drew me to my feet. I couldn’t remember when I’d sunk to my knees again.
Frankly, I didn’t remember much of everything. My heart skipped a beat at the realization.
“Now that that’s settled, I’m glad to welcome you as a regular part of my daughter’s guard,” Nymeron said, his voice suddenly normal again, every hint of manipulation vanished as if it had never been there.
Thinking about it, I had no clue what it was that he had just done and with the onset of panic I felt how the memory of his voice inside my head was fading. I knew it was important, that I had to hold on to it somehow, but the thought eluded me as soon as it had appeared.
Something was definitely wrong here.
What did he just do?
Did it matter?
Distantly, I registered Dawnelle making me take off my coat, before helping me into another one that was almost identical to the one I had worn before. Apart from the embroidery on its left side. I didn’t have to look down to know that it was Dawn’s emblem, mirroring the one she was still wearing now, only to take it off and slip it over my own head.
“Welcome to my guard, Raphael,” she said smiling that innocent smile again. I bowed my head, submissively.
“It is an honor to serve you.”
Inside me something wanted to run away screaming, but I stood my ground, waiting for the Eye to dismiss me.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Leonard.”
“Lieutenant?” I echoed him, dumbstruck. “But-”
“Oh I forget to tell you that,” Dawnelle said cheerfully, her smile never faltering. “Accepting anybody below the rank of Lieutenant into my guard is out of the question so…well I don’t think you’d mind a raise in rank, would you?”
“No…No, I’m surprised that’s all,” I managed hastily, trying to swallow the voice that started to yell “Yes, I do!” inside me. I honestly didn’t want any part of this, but who was I to object.
“I’m sure you’ll live up to it,” she whispered into my ear suggestively.
“I’ll do my best.” It never ceased to surprise me how I kept a rein on my voice before I turned to leave after a dismissive nod from Nymeron.
“I trust you won’t disappoint us, Lieutenant Leonard.”
“Rest assured that I won’t, your Highness,” the reply came smoothly and without hesitation, making me wonder exactly how much of it was lie and how much truth.
The Gods damn me, but my life wasn’t getting any easier.