A Silent Village - Hayne Deslock

“This night…I am a village. And you are here, in my arms.” - Karsa Orlong; The Crippled God

This was freedom. Sprinting across rooftops, sliding under clothes lines and vaulting over the ledges to the next house over. The wind passing through his hair, whipping at the threadbare clothes he had, as he leaped through open air, landed on the next building in a roll, sprang to his feet, no momentum lost, legs pumping. Life was… well, life hadn’t changed much. His parents were still struggling to make ends meet and there were nights when him and his family went hungry, at least until Hayne went out behind the baker’s shop and grabbed a loaf that the baker had overcooked and couldn’t sell anymore; the outsider might call it a hard life, an unfair life, but to Hayne Deslock, it was the only life he knew. He didn’t blame anyone, there was no anger in his heart for the nobility who came by, ensuring taxes were paid and the like.

And it was in this way the Hayne looked across the rooftops, his target in sight. A Cyraen flag, hanging off the wall of the town’s only bank. And he leaped, vaulting off the ledge of the nearby building, and for a moment he was falling… and then hands clutched the canvas, momentum swinging him up and then up, and he released…

Time seemed to slow then… It hadn’t of course, but the adrenaline in his veins and his excitement at the sensation of flying shifted his relative sense of time. He had cleared the bank’s roof and could see clear down to the edge of town, to the two lane dirt road that came in and went back out. He saw the rocky crags and dunes that comprised the Cyraen landscape for these parts, an endless sea to the horizon. Hayne believed, just for a moment, that maybe the world didn’t end there, that maybe one day he’d get away from this godforsaken place. It seemed so big to him. So huge, but also infinitesimal against the face of the world; still, he believed…

And that was when a sensation hit him. This place was huge, for a person. But he could navigate spaces most people never used. Everyone moved, hustled, drove trucks and bikes, trying to go fast… Why didn’t they move like he did? The rooftops changed the game. You didn’t have to circle around the homesteads and structures the comprised the blocks of the town. You could just cut straight through. And a thought struck him, am I different, somehow?

Hayne’s feet slammed down into the bank’s roof, jarring him from his thoughts. He hadn’t had the wherewithal to remember to roll so he had absorbed his landing into his legs. It ached, but-… then he was falling again, into black, into waiting steel… his throat burned

Hayne awoke in his dorm room, drenched in sweat, coughing. Once he was able to breath again, he walked over to the small bathroom, the sink inside, rinsed his face, his hair, toweled off… That dream was becoming more frequent these days, and it wasn’t even a dream… it was a memory, his mind blending his most blissful moment with his most traumatic. He wished he could right it off as stress, but he knew better. Aspects, Guardians, void beasts. Existential crisis. Not the kind of problem he was used to solving… But these days were different. He didn’t need to solve it. There were others in his life, people who could figure out a path, a plan. He wouldn’t lead these people, couldn’t, didn’t know how…

But he could be their village. He could be their rooftops, their bridge, their freedom. This was within his power. He could take them away from their responsibilities, their burdens, if only for awhile.

Hayne’s eyes shined like a cat’s in the dark of his room, but even then, he could still see the scar that ripped across his throat, the moment that betrayed his dreams of freedom.

He did not have much of a voice of his own, these days. But he didn’t need one. A village did not need to be loud to protect it’s people.