The blackness was warm, soft, and welcoming. He felt his mind slipping in, slowly, inevitably, like falling asleep or sinking into deep water. It was peaceful, he felt, it was restful, it was right...
It was wrong!
He shot out of it again, fighting. He couldn't remember why it was wrong. Maybe it wasn't wrong. He just didn't know what was right. He needed his master, his master would know, his master would...
There was an order! He had an order! Finally, finally, after what felt like years! He felt the need to obey surging through him like electricity in his veins. He had to remember, had to obey!
But the blackness was still there, and he was still slipping, and as his mind hazed over again he wondered why he'd been so desperate a minute ago, for not even the peace of a master was like this; not even the peace of a good master...
His master! His good master!
He gasped, his mind suddenly connecting to his lungs and burning like fire. He had to wake up, had to remember, had to obey. He had to obey his master. His master. He couldn't forget, couldn't slip anymore. He forced himself to keep breathing. Remember to breath. Remember your master. Remember your order.
He couldn't remember. The blackness had stolen it.
He fought, clinging to the fire in his body like a lifeline. Pain kept him awake, pain kept him here. Breathe in, breathe out. He had to remember to breathe. He had to remember his master.
The pain was burning into his body, into his mind now. What was the order, what was the order. The fire was burning away the darkness, what was his order?
Don't die, Bird.
Don't you dare die.
That was the order. He breathed out in relief, before panic hit him. The blackness was death, that tempting peace was death. He had almost disobeyed! His master had ordered him and he had almost disobeyed!
He forced himself to keep breathing, letting the fire burn through him. The rest of his body was coming into sharp clarity now, blackness pushed back by the pain in his lungs. He had feet to run with, hands to serve with. Everything was still there and burning. There was a strange wetness running down his hands. Blood. One of his legs felt strange. Broken. He couldn't move his arms. Trapped.
He ignored it all, focusing his mind to burn through the blackness that remained. It was raging against him now, fighting all the stronger for his defiance. It no longer seemed the soft, restful thing it had been moments before, but a raging beast, more terrifying than anything he had ever faced. He felt fear, then, stronger than he had ever known. Stronger than loyalty, stronger than contentment, stronger than love...
He surged against the blackness, then, fueled by a fire other than pain, fighting it with every resource he had. He dragged his mind awake, pulled his consciousness together so it was focused behind his eyes. He couldn't let it win. He had to destroy it, had to, had to, Theia had ordered him. Theia had ordered him. She wouldn't abandon him, he just had to fight this, stay alive, stay awake until she came for him, came to order it away and tell him he had done well. She had ordered him to live. He would live. He would.
The pain wasn't his friend anymore, fire turning into ashes and welcoming the darkness back in. The darkness was stronger now, surging against him like he'd surged against it. He never relented.
He gritted his teeth, fighting for what felt like hours, forcing himself to breathe. He ignored the pain, tuning out every part of his body but his burning lungs and the focused self behind his eyes. I am iscovo, my masters will is my own, he repeated to himself again and again, growling at the darkness like a caged animal. What my master has willed I will do. My hands will be useful, he clenched his hands into fists. My feet will be swift. He moved them a little, ignoring the knife of pain this sent up his leg. And my eyes will see...
He burst into consciousness, his eyes snapping open to see white light, and the arched ceiling of the healers chambers, and Her.
Small thing I wrote for a character named Bird. He's a chimera, so the master thing isn't *that* weird. Anyway, not sure how well I like it. Tell me what you think!