V for Vendetta

I sat upon the chair in my room, returning after my older brother had handed me a large, weighty tome. I stared intently at the cover. V for Vendetta. It sounded like the title for a bad action/drama movie. Leafing through the pages, I noticed it was a comic book. But it had weight and depth, like a novel. Reclining in my uncomfortable seat, I opened to the beginning and read. And read. And read. I finished the graphic novel within the span of an hour. Then I went back to the beginning and re-read it, focusing deeply on each and every aspect. I studied the rich, full character of anarchist V, the profound setting of dystopian, fascist England, and the epic plot underlining the importance of freedom and the evils of oppression. I studied the graphic novel, taking care to note each intricacy and detail.

I slammed it shut and dropped it upon my desk with a loud thud. I turned behind me, grabbed an empty journal and wrote. I wrote until my eyelids dropped, my hands became sore, and my legs ached for movement. Something had been unlocked within me, a talent I had always noticed, but never pursued. As a young boy, I spent much of my free time writing stories about adventuring heroes and the twisted villains they faced, about the interaction between fully fleshed-out characters in vast, open worlds, where every choice mattered. But, just as suddenly as it approached, it vanished, doomed, perhaps, to be eternally locked within my subconscious. That fateful day, however, when I picked up that graphic novel, flames roared inside of me. This desire to let my creative mind speak had been unlocked once more by a wizard of words, Alan Moore. This quiet, reserved Englishman unleashed within me a talent I had long forgotten. I continued to write throughout the night and well into the next day. I took my journal to school and wrote whenever I could. Every time I happened upon a new idea, I furiously scribbled it into my journal. V for Vendetta, a discussion about freedom through chaos, awakened within me a love for writing, of creating entire universes with the power of my mind.

To this day, Alan Moore and V for Vendetta inspire me to pursue this passion, to never stop writing, and to let my mind flow free. This experience influenced my passions and goals greatly. Whereas before I was unsure of my desires, unsure of the future, the simple experience of reading that graphic novel awoke within me a craving of writing. My goals are now set upon putting my newly-roused talent to use. Creating new worlds has become my passion. I am happiest now when I can write. It matters little what I do, as long as I can pursue my love of writing. And through that love, I have and continue to create new worlds. To this day, I have yet to set my journal down.

Death’s True Face

The low crackle of the fire did not disturb Kaidan as he sat upon the earthen floor. The glare of the flames reflected weakly off of his black cloak. A canopy of stars filled the blackened sky above him, just visible through the gaps of treetops. He cleaned his blade silently, trying hard not to awake his party. His head perked up suddenly. A rustle, then a crack. Someone else was near. He slowly began to draw his blade, pointing it towards the direction of the noise. Lyavaine stepped from behind a bush, nervously approaching him.

“You could have gotten yourself killed,” Kaidan exhaled harshly, placing his sword on the ground and running a hand through his blonde mane. He carefully avoided making eye contact with her.

“Sorry,” replied Lyavaine, “I saw the fire was still alight.” She crouched next to him and held out her hands towards the feeble flames, vainly hoping for warmth.

“You best be careful next time. It might not be me pointing the blade.” Kaidan nodded his head to the side, indicating something off in the distance. Lyavaine turned and noticed the body Kaidan was referring to. She approached it warily, eying a pool of crimson blood surrounding it. Taking a better look, she noticed the insignia upon the corpse’s chest. A fist. The mark of Kilrain. She turned in shock towards Kaidan.

“When did you do this?” she asked, incredulously.

“Only a few moments ago,” Kaidan replied nonchalantly.

She returned to the fire, removed her bandolier and, carefully, sat across from him, trying not to bump into her sleeping brother.

“Those skills you learned have come in handy,” she said, her ears twitching as the fire crackled softly. “It must have been hard, becoming an assassin.”

“We’re Auroral Knights, not common assassins, and it is only as hard as one makes it for themselves,” he responded. He picked up his weapon once more and ran a rag across its surface.

Tilting her head to the side, she curiously asked, “Why did you do it?”

“Because if I had not, he would have killed us in our sleep.”

“No, not that. Why did you become an assassin–I mean, a Knight?”

Kaidan stopped suddenly, drawing a slow sigh. He placed his weapon to the side, and, for the first time that evening, looked into Lyavaine’s eyes. The weak flames danced across their eyes for a moment before he responded.

“Not like I had a choice. I was taken in as a child; it was the only way of life I knew.”

She pushed her black hair behind her pointed ear. “Yes, but you could have given it all up,” she answered chidingly. “Once you became of age, you could have left it all behind.”

“I could leave it behind as easily as you could leave behind your ears,” Kaidan retorted. “You simply cannot abandon who you are.”

Lyavaine, feeling angered, stood up and turned around before Kaidan suddenly remarked, “I stayed because I agree with their philosophy.”

She paused for a moment, before turning around with a confused look struck across her face. She settles upon the ground as Kaidan continued.

“People see Auroral Knights as heartless killers, fueled by the political system to further the agendas of humanity. That’s far from the truth.” He wiped the beads of sweat forming across his brow. “Knights kill because we must. We take lives in order to save them.”

Lyavaine relaxed, leaning closer towards Kaidan.

“The first question a Knight is asked during their induction into the order is, ‘Why should I sacrifice my interests in order to help another human being, at a high cost to myself?’ This is because it is the responsibility of one to help all. We kill military officials, political leaders, fanatics, zealots, anyone who threatens the fragility of Illias.” His hand gripped tightly into a fist, a wave of passion consuming him. “In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible. Every decision we make, whether or not to help one another, matters. And by each deed we carry out, we either retard or accelerate the coming of redemption. It is up to man to ensure that the guilty are brought to retribution. We are the saviors because we are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect this world.”

Suddenly, he arose, making Lyavaine fall back, and gesticulating wildly, he began to loudly affirm, “If one must die to ensure a thousand will live, then it is the job of an Auroral Knight to ensure the death of that one. I would gladly give my life to know that Illias is safe from tyrants like Kilrain. So I will continue to do so, even in the face of my own destruction!”

“Would ya keep it down?” a booming voice cried above Kaidan’s words. Kaidan crouched suddenly, grabbed his sword, and pointed it towards the noise. The stout, red-bearded face of Olen arose from behind a rock. “It’s bloody late and we got a lot of walking ta do in the mornin’!” He disappeared to behind the boulder once more.

Kaidan sat down embarrassed and quietly murmured, “A Knight kills to save lives. I kill to save lives.” And with that, he drew the rag once more and began to clean his blade. Lyavaine, her face somewhat softened towards him, stood up and returned to her spot behind the bushes. The fire continued to crackle softly as Kaidan cleaned his sword, his face reflecting off of its silvery surface.