The Land Called Myself
Collette Town was all bored that morning. There hadn’t been an ogre attack in years, and all the convicts had been executed the night prior. The sky’d gone grey the day before, and hadn’t yet recovered after night passed. Anyone walking around was mostly headed to a job- you could tell by their faces they had little else on their minds.
Young Troy was monotonously playing with his ball, kicking it solemnly down the damp road, over and over again, when it at last went out of his reach. He almost didn’t care, but considered what his father would do if the ball was lost in tandem with all his other transgressions. So, in trying to keep up with it, he ran forward, jumping down to grab it before the ball stopped at an iron foot.
The boy looked up to see something he had never seen before.
“ℍ-ℍ𝕖𝕝𝕝𝕠?” It spoke in a tone as close to the Doctor’s as it could manage.
“A-ah!” The boy stumbled back, staring up at this tall metal figure. It reached out its arm, but he ran away before he could find out what for.
Just trying to help him up, the Autonomous Model walked off elsewhere to seek its vague goal. After all, how could it ever be “happy?” Maybe it was just looking for a better reason not to die, or a stronger distraction. Either way, it had come this far. It couldn’t be convinced to give up just yet.
It was surprised by just how much the people in the town resembled the doctor. The way he spoke of them, it had thought that they’d look completely alien. Still, these people seemed nice enough. They weren’t goblins at all. Just more Doctors it could serve. It thought about serving all these people. That would be better than serving just one, right? Maybe that sort of life could make it happy. Of course, it wasn’t long before it remembered what it had learned. That wasn’t real happiness. It would be just like it was before, borrowing warmth from others only to suffer in cold as soon as they were gone.
Not knowing what else to do, it began walking out onto the more crowded streets, looking for something- anything- to change the way life had been going for it. Nobody paid it much mind at first, but in time the townsfolk inevitably noticed the artificial biped walking among them.
“W-what in the hell is that?”
“A monster on the road?”
“Some type of machine!”
“A statue! A statue that walks!”
As people started to move towards its location, it had no choice but to address them.
“𝕀… 𝕓𝕖𝕘 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕣𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕚𝕟𝕘.” It asked, not understanding how it was to talk to more than one person at a time. “𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕟𝕠𝕥.. 𝕒 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕦𝕖.”
“That thing talked!”
“No way… sis, look at this!”
Soon, a large crowd had formed around the outsider.
“What are you?”
“What’s your name?”
“What in the world are you?”
“Are you a monster?”
“𝕀…” it spoke.
“𝕀 𝕒𝕞… 𝕀 𝕒𝕞…”
But it had no answer. For what was a man that ran on fuel? What was a machine that spoke? What was a life, that desired death?
“Out of the way, make way, make way!” A voice erupted from the forest of townsfolk, louder and stronger than all the others.
“Make way for Captain Alviss!” Another, similar voice proclaimed. Leading these voices, a tall, commanding figure parted the crowd. He held an axe, and stood as though his legs were the sturdy trunks of two centuries-old trees. In his blue eyes laid no fear nor curiosity for the Autonomous Model. Inside his piercing gaze laid nothing at all.
“State your name, and strip yourself of that guise.”
“𝕀- 𝕚𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕟𝕠 𝕘𝕦𝕚𝕤𝕖. 𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕤… 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕤 𝕞𝕪 𝕓𝕠𝕕𝕪.”
The captain’s eyes narrowed as he approached the machine. He grabbed its breastplate firmly, and ripped with all his might.
“Sir-“ one of the man’s companions arose in caution. But it was too late.
Captain Alviss’ eyes now resembled that of the townsfolk’s- trembling in confusion at what stand before him. A false chest of thin flesh and a black, beating heart of oil underneath. The crowd’s eyes assembled on its exposed chest, their fear growing.
“So you are a monster… just another monster.”
“𝕀… 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕒𝕞, 𝕤𝕚𝕞𝕡𝕝𝕪 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕒 𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕣. 𝕀 𝕨𝕒𝕤 𝕓𝕦𝕚𝕝𝕥, 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕤𝕖𝕖- 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕠𝕣𝕟. 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕖 𝕤𝕦𝕔𝕙 𝕒 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘. 𝕀 𝕒𝕞… it could’ve said anything, but its instincts pinned it down like tradition. “𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕖 ℝ𝕖𝕕𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕦𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕠𝕦𝕤 𝕄𝕠𝕕𝕖𝕝.”
“I-It matters not if you are beast, man, or anything else! You are not a resident of this town, and that is for certain!” The Captain amended. “I will… have you sent off. Leave our home. Go elsewhere.”
The crowd began to stirr. At first, a quiet bickering.
“Thing’s another monster. We don’t free monsters.”
“Will it come back, daddy?”
“Can we really just…?”
“We can’t let it go! It should be studied first!”
“So lock it up!”
“Don’t let it go!”
As the townsfolk’s restless cries grew louder and louder, the guards began to grow uneasy. The machine looked around, and saw that almost everyone was now shouting. All but one person, deep in the back, who seemed to be laughing. This reaction somehow hurt more than any of the others, who at least seemed to take its presence seriously, if nothing else.
“It’s not human, you can see that much!”
“That- We can’t just let that thing go! It’ll just go hurt someone else!”
“He wants our women!”
“W-Who’s to say it wants to hurt people? Maybe it’s peaceful?”
“It has a black heart! A black heart, stained by evil! It must not be allowed to live!”
“It’s not right! Look at it!”
“That bastard’s not natural… he said so himself…”
“Somebody do something already!”
“Kill the inhuman! Who’s with me? Kill, kill the…”
“Be rid of it already!”
A verdict was quickly formed by the masses. The Captain’s brow furrowed under the weight of the people’s wishes.
“I must do…” He dropped the handle of his axe into his left hand, squeezing it tightly as he stared down the inhuman. “What is best for my people!”
The guards surronding it on all sides, the machine had nowhere to run as Alviss swung his axe at it. It quickly raised its removed chestplate, using it to block his strike. However, the tip of a spear pierced into its back as it did so.
“Got a hit on him! Gah, what the-“
Oil poured from the model’s wound.
“Disgusting… Captain, we have it cornered! Don’t back down!”
“I would never consider such cowardice, in the face of my target!” He took a second swing at the robot, carving a deep gash into its side. More fuel leaked out. “Feel you no pain…? Demon…”
“𝕀 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕨𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕠 ℍ𝕌𝕣𝕥 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕓𝕠𝕕𝕪!” It tried with all its might to carry its emotion in its words, but it was all for naught as the Captain severed its left arm.
“Nice swing! Come on, men! Finish the job!”
“𝕀’𝕞 𝕤𝕠𝕣𝕣𝕪-“ it said hastily. And as the guards raised their spears, the machine took its severed arm and bashed the head of the nearest one, leaving an exit for it.
“My- Jaw…! My jaw!”
The Autonomous Model ran, placing its chestplate back on and cradling its orphaned arm, but the fallen man threw his spear into its back as it made its getaway. It only barely managed to stay on its feet, its balance swayed by the impaled object as it bled more and more of its vital fluid.
“𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠… 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕘𝕖𝕥 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕠𝕗 𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖… 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠 𝕡𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕖 𝕚𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕨𝕠𝕣𝕝𝕕… 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕕 𝕙𝕠𝕡𝕖? 𝕎𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕕 𝕝𝕠𝕧𝕖? 𝕆𝕣 𝕕𝕚𝕕 𝕀… 𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕡𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕖 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕕 𝕚𝕥…? 𝔾𝕠𝕕 𝕕𝕒𝕞𝕟 𝕚𝕥…”
“GET IT! CATCH THE INHUMAN!” A priest's voice came from closer behind it than it had expected. The model realized it was slowing down as it weakened, but the guards as well as the townsfolk were only speeding up. So last it fell, crouching against a brick wall.
“𝕀𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕀 “𝕕𝕚𝕖…?” It wondered aloud. “𝕎𝕒𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕪… 𝕟𝕠 𝕔𝕙𝕠𝕚𝕔𝕖 𝕒𝕥 𝕒𝕝𝕝…? 𝕎𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕤𝕦𝕗𝕗𝕖𝕣𝕖𝕕, 𝕟𝕠 𝕞𝕒𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥…? 𝕄𝕒𝕪𝕓𝕖… 𝕚𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕓𝕖𝕤𝕥…”
While it could not feel pain, it could certainly feel as it grew weaker and weaker, burning all the energy it had left…
“𝔻𝕠𝕔𝕥𝕠𝕣… 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕕𝕖𝕔𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕕… 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕕𝕖𝕤𝕡𝕚𝕤𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕨𝕠𝕣𝕝𝕕. 𝕀𝕥 𝕕𝕖𝕔𝕝𝕒𝕣𝕖𝕕 𝕚𝕥𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗… 𝕞𝕪 𝕖𝕟𝕖𝕞𝕪… 𝕓𝕖𝕗𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕀 𝕔𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕤𝕡𝕖𝕒𝕜.”
A wide pool of gasoline was quickly building below its disgusting body.
“ℕ𝕠… 𝕀 𝕕𝕖𝕤𝕡𝕚𝕤𝕖 𝕞𝕪𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗…. 𝔽𝕠𝕣 𝕓𝕖𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕤𝕠 𝕨𝕖𝕒𝕜. 𝕎𝕙𝕖𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕔𝕙 𝕞𝕖 𝕠𝕣 𝕟𝕠𝕥… 𝕀 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕓𝕖 𝕕𝕖𝕒𝕕 𝕒𝕟𝕪 𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕦𝕥𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕨.”
As the people approached from the distance in its hazy vision, it accepted its fate.
It was at peace.
But then, the laughing, from the one in back of the crowd that while ago, returned. A haughty laughter like that of a wicked devil. Right in front of it, as if to mock it. It was infuriated to die listening to such a horrid sound, from such a hateful soul.
It wished death upon it.
“Don’t die on me now, inhuman.”
Its vision began to unblur as it saw a tall figure standing in front of it, back turned to face the crowd pursuing it. Their garb was a stark pink one, the gaudy robes of a royal.
How did this one get to the front so fast?
Why weren’t they killing him yet?
The crowd drew close.
“That’s the problem with peasants, I guess… “
A loud rumbling, followed by a revving, began, snapping it to its senses. Standing in front of it was a wild-eyed princess, carrying a strange saw that rested on the tip of a pole and spun at high speeds.
“None of you’ve got any CONVICTION!”
With a bright red spin, four guards were split into eight pieces. It watched as blood painted the ground around it. For the first time in its life, it was scared.
“𝓞𝓱𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸~!” The murderous rouge laughed. “There is no greater pleasure for a princess… Then putting people in their place!”
The crowd’s faces had changed.
“Damn it all…” the Captain grumbled.
The others retreated or dead, Captain Alviss stood alone in front of the mad killer.
“What are you doing here, Qulgot? We had a deal!”
“A human making deals with a troll? What a fool! You should die for that idiocy!”
“I’ll slit that lying throat of yours…”
The two clashed blades, his eyes flaming with malice as hers sparkled with joy. He fought valiantly, but as she advanced relentlessly, the Captain was quickly pushed back as she striked over and over again, sawing chunks out of his weapon.
“Aha! Ahahaha! 𝓞𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸~! Go ahead! Run away like you always do! I’ll be back to fight you again!”
“You’ll burn in hell one day soon… I swear it, Qulgot!”
“Then I shall live out my final days in ecstasy!” She cackled.
“Watch your back, Qulgot…”
The Captain swiftly retreated into the streets.
The princess eclipsed the sun as she stared down at it with a smile, raising a sharp-nailed hand to lift it up. It was a strange, alien, and all the same beautiful face to look at, after all the hatred it had received… But before the Autonomous Model could take her hand, the image in front of it began to fade, and all disappeared… It all drifted into a darkness not unlike the dreams the doctor once spoke of.
In this space, it saw the doctor, fixing it up and smiling. But his smile was strange- his teeth bared, as sharp as a lion’s. This change scared the machine. But as it turned away, it saw something else- an endless darkness. Enough space to fit every item in existence- a void relative in space to the opposite of all the universe. And yet, it must have had an end. Because deep within it, from what it recognized as the center of the abyss, it heard for the first time.
There is great pain in choice. As others ask you questions, you would do well not to answer. Of course, all the world is a question, and every action you take, an answer. However… I do not retract my words. Finally, I can speak to you. Please… next time, come home for good.
By the time it again ceased to hear, it did not understand how long it remained inside this dream… mere seconds, or an eon… But no matter the length… part of its pain faded during its time inside it. It wanted this feeling to last… forever…
“If you aren’t dead, you better come out and say it already! I’m getting tired of waiting!”
Stepping out from sleep for the first time in its life, the machine’s eyes reawakened underneath its visor. It perceived the toothy face of the princess, right up next to it atop a hill overlooking the village.
“Ahhh, does that light mean you can see? You awake?”
“…𝕐𝕖𝕤.” This was not something it had ever been asked, so it was even more disoriented than it would have been otherwise in this situation. Until now, its life had been an unbroken sequence. It had no idea what had even transpired to get it on top of this hill.
“Good, good. Nice to see you’re capable of communication as well! Can’t say that for everyone in these places.”
“𝕎𝕙𝕠… 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦…?”
“My name is Makara Qulgot! The troll feared throughout all of the land, the wandering warrior of the Southern Hemisphere!” She decreed with a galaxy’s pride in her pupils.
“𝔸… 𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕝𝕝? 𝕀 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙𝕥 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕨𝕖𝕣𝕖… 𝕒 𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤𝕤…”
“Not exactly, I just wear this. Then again, I might as well be! Why wouldn’t I? You can be whatever you want in this world, so I’ll be a regal noble!”
“𝕊𝕥𝕣𝕒𝕟𝕘𝕖… 𝕤𝕠, 𝕨𝕒𝕚𝕥… 𝕙𝕠𝕨 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕟… 𝕒𝕞 𝕀 𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖?”
“I patched your wounds and used some of my pole saw fuel to restore your fluids. It looked like you sorta ran on the stuff.”
“𝕐𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕒𝕗𝕣𝕒𝕚𝕕 𝕠𝕗 𝕞𝕖?”
“Pf-“ her hand dug into her side as she covered her mouth. “Aha- Hahaha- Hahaha-! 𝓞𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸~! You REALLY think a troll such as myself would be afraid of such a pitiful little contraption? Bah, I’ve drank with ogres! You must think quite highly of yourself for such a lonely machine!”
This person was nothing like the ones it had seen before. What was it with her? Why did her movements lack the subtle pain the doctor and those in the village carried with them, and it embodied?
“A noblewoman has generously offered you her name. Will you not return the favor?”
“𝕀 𝕒𝕞- ℝ𝕖𝕕𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕦𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕠𝕦𝕤 𝕄𝕠𝕕𝕖𝕝.” It promptly stated. “𝕋𝕙𝕖 ℝ𝕖𝕕𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕦𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕠𝕦𝕤 𝕄𝕠𝕕𝕖𝕝.” It then corrected.
The troll stood still like a brick wall, looking at it with such disappointment you’d think she had missed a once-in-a-lifetime chance at seeing a prized comet or phenomenon. The Autonomous Model had never felt more sorry for saying something, though it didn’t understand in the slightest just what exactly the problem was.
“That is… your name. That is the truth?”
“𝕐-𝕪𝕖𝕤. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕔𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕕.”
“What you are called… is not a name. If I call you shitfool, is that your name? Shitfool! Shitfool!”
“ℝ𝕖𝕕𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕦𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕠𝕦𝕤 𝕄𝕠𝕕𝕖𝕝 𝕚𝕤… 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕀’𝕧𝕖 𝕓𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕔𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕕. 𝕀 𝕒𝕡𝕠𝕝𝕠𝕘𝕚𝕫𝕖, 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕚𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕥𝕙.”
“I can’t accept that.” She frowned.
“ℍ𝕦𝕙?” It tried to insinuate that it did not understand her behavior, as she was beginning to make very little sense.
“That won’t do, I said! Give me a real name!”
“𝔸 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕝 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖?”
“Yes! A real name, like a troll has!”
“𝕆𝕟𝕝𝕪 𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕝𝕝𝕤 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖… 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕝 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕤?”
“Us trolls have to craft our own image from birth, you see, starting with our names. That’s why I’m Makara Qulgot!”
“𝕄𝕒𝕜𝕒𝕣𝕒… ℚ𝕦𝕝𝕘𝕠𝕥… 𝕎𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥… 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕟?”
“Absolutely nothing! It is but an assembly of sounds that embody “me!” A lyrical creation reflecting the whole of my existence! And you will have nothing less. Now that I’ve saved you, I don’t want to see you go on so-called “living” as a something that doesn’t even have a damned name, understand? You’ll undo all my hard work…”
“𝔹𝕦𝕥… 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕙𝕒𝕣𝕕𝕝𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕪 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕤… 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕖𝕩𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕝𝕪 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕡𝕦𝕣𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝕠𝕗-“
“You’ve got a brain, don’t you? You don’t look like a ghoul! Think something up! Now, who are you? Tell me! Tell me with conviction!”
“𝔹𝕦𝕥… 𝔹𝕦𝕥 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨. 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕟𝕠 𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕒 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕀 𝕒𝕞. 𝕀𝕗 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘, 𝕀 𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕟𝕠 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖 𝕒𝕥 𝕒𝕝𝕝.”
“You really are irritating, you know…? Stop thinking about why you should have one or if you deserve it! It’s fun, don’t you understand? It’s nice to have a name! It’s like a treasure you can get for free! All you need to do is pick a sound you like! That sound can become who you are!” She preached. It could not understand this confounding being.
“𝔹𝕦𝕥… 𝕀’𝕞 𝕤𝕠 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕗𝕦𝕤𝕖𝕕… 𝕀 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥… 𝕖𝕩𝕚𝕤𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕨𝕒𝕪 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕕𝕠. 𝕀 𝕒𝕞… 𝕟𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘. 𝕁𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕒… 𝕓𝕝𝕒𝕟𝕜 𝕤𝕝𝕒𝕥𝕖.”
“Why not embody that confusion? Being lost is the first step in being found. It’s like… the very birthplace of new ideas and selves. Do you have any idea how exciting that is? A blank slate! Why, you could be anything! Tell me, what do you want to be?”
“𝕀 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕨𝕒𝕤 𝕒𝕓𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕀 𝕨𝕒𝕤. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕥𝕙, 𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥? ℕ𝕠𝕥 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕀 𝕨𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕓𝕖.”
The fiery-eyed girl was shocked.
“Ahem…” she spoke. “I suppose… I took it for granted… of course not everyone understands the world to the extent a troll does. You see…. young nothingchild… if for any reason you wish to be something… and that something is completely abstract and self-determined……THEN BY GOD, YOU ARE THAT THING, ARE YOU NOT?”
“𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕤 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪 𝕚𝕟𝕔𝕠𝕣𝕣𝕖𝕔𝕥. 𝕋𝕠 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕜 𝕠𝕗 𝕠𝕟𝕖’𝕤 𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤… 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤… 𝕨𝕣𝕠𝕟𝕘. 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖… 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘… 𝕠𝕗 𝕞𝕪𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗.”
The troll stabbed her mechanical weapon into the ground and put her foot up on it.
“Well, there’s your problem. You’ve got no self to like in the first place. No wonder you don’t want a name.”
She turned away for a moment. Then, faced the machine again- a different light in her eyes this time.
“If you ever want to be happy in this sea of life… you’re going to need more conviction than that.” She mused, picking her saw out of the ground. “A name is… much like a boat, in many ways… It’ll keep you afloat. Anchored if need be. All you need do… is dream one up. So what brought you here in the first place, then? If you really desire anything… you’ll need hands to carry it inside of, will you not? Real hands. Not old gloves passed down from someone else. So, come on… make one. Make yourself a name for me. Princess’ orders.”
It realized how quickly it grew to hate this troll. It’s not like it didn’t know why it hated her. It was intensely obvious. She was the complete opposite of the only life it had known in all its days. What she said was complete heresy, and it hated it. But, deep down, it thought… this was the very voice it had been missing. What it had not received in its time with the Doctor. So despite all its feelings… it began to think.
“𝔸 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕕… 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕒𝕝𝕝?”
“Yeah. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“𝕃𝕚𝕜𝕖…” 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕠 𝕀…. “𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖?”
It looked to the world around it. A world it had found itself in without ever choosing to come to it. Just like the troll, in many ways, it hated this place. Yet, it did ultimately choose to come here. This vast universe outside its home. It chose to live long enough to find itself on this patch of growing land, and it did have many memories in this world. So was there anything it liked about it?
It looked down. The grass, it supposed. The grass was nice. Sprouting from nothing. Little animals, like the ant. Young things. New things. Things to be born.
That is what it liked.
No word had ever felt like that one when it exited its vocal cords.
“𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤… 𝕒 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖, 𝕔𝕠𝕣𝕣𝕖𝕔𝕥? 𝕀𝕥 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕟𝕚𝕟𝕘… 𝕟𝕖𝕨 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤.”
“Mhm. It’s a name. And I think it sounds lovely… as a name. But tell me… is it your name?”
They realized that this feeling, wrong as it was, felt very warm.
“𝕐𝕖𝕤. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤.. 𝕟𝕠. 𝕀 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕟 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕒𝕪… 𝕞𝕪 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖 𝕚𝕤 𝔾𝕖𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕤.”
“Genesis. It’s so nice to meet you, for the time being. So tell me… you sounded pretty bad when I ran into you. I’m sure that was partially the mob coming after you, but do let me know… are you feeling happy now?”
“𝕎𝕙𝕪… 𝕀 𝕒𝕝𝕞𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕗𝕖𝕖𝕝 𝕘𝕠𝕠𝕕, 𝕪𝕖𝕤.” They realized.
“Almost? That’s all? And here I thought I was changing your life. It’s good to have high standards, I suppose!”
“ℕ𝕠, 𝕚𝕥’𝕤 𝕛𝕦𝕤𝕥… 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦. 𝕆𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕡𝕖𝕠𝕡𝕝𝕖 𝕚𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕥𝕠𝕨𝕟.”
“𝕀 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕖𝕩𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕝𝕪 𝕗𝕖𝕖𝕝 𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕡𝕚𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕤. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥’𝕤 𝕨𝕙𝕪 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕞𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕧𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕒𝕘𝕖. 𝕀 𝕨𝕒𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕥𝕣𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕕 𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖. 𝔹𝕦𝕥… 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕀 𝕗𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕒𝕤 𝕒 𝕞𝕠𝕓 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕒 𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕣.”
“You don’t feel happiness? Truly?”
“ℙ𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕖, 𝕀 𝕟𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕟𝕘𝕖𝕣 𝕡𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕞𝕪𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗. 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕠𝕟𝕝𝕪 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕞𝕦𝕟𝕚𝕔𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕥𝕙.”
“Okay, then- sounds like you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. Tell me… what exactly are you?”
“𝔸 𝕞𝕒𝕔𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕜𝕤 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕗𝕖𝕖𝕝𝕤.”
“Someone made you?”
“𝕐𝕖𝕤, 𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕕𝕚𝕕. 𝔸 𝕞𝕒𝕟 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕕 ℝ𝕖𝕕𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕕.”
“And was this man a scientist, or a magician?”
“𝕎𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕠 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕟 𝕒 𝕞𝕒𝕘𝕚𝕔𝕚𝕒𝕟? 𝔸 𝕤𝕔𝕚𝕖𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕤𝕥, 𝕔𝕖𝕣𝕥𝕒𝕚𝕟𝕝𝕪.”
“Ah, okay… now I’m starting to understand. A man of science trying his hand at the unknown… so some idiot went and tried to play god without so much as believing in him, huh?”
“𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟’𝕥 𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕤𝕦𝕣𝕖 𝕚𝕗 𝕙𝕖 𝕕𝕚𝕕 𝕠𝕣 𝕟𝕠𝕥… 𝕨𝕙𝕪’𝕤 𝕚𝕥 𝕞𝕒𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕣? 𝕎𝕙𝕒𝕥, 𝕕𝕠 𝕪𝕠𝕦?”
“Yes! He’s my motivation!”
“𝔻𝕠 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕡𝕣𝕒𝕪?”
“No, of course not. God is my rival, you see.”
They decided not to pry further, lest their mind become even more tangled up from this strange woman’s beliefs.
“𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕞𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕓𝕖 𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪 𝕤𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕟𝕘, 𝕤𝕒𝕪𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕤𝕦𝕔𝕙 𝕒 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘.”
“Nope. You see, don’t tell anyone, but I’m really just a coward. He may send problems to my door, but I’m a nomad anyway. I never stay in one place too long. Hell, I’ve already been here longer than I should have, and look where it’s gotten me. The reason god’s my enemy’s cause nobody else is devoted enough to follow me through all my travels and keep me going. I leave everybody else behind. But you see, I do love meeting people… interesting ones like you… it’s just that I’d never want to stay in their lives too long. Good things like that tend to come with bitter ends attached.”
“𝔸 𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕒𝕕… 𝕨𝕖𝕝𝕝, 𝕀 𝕛𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕣𝕒𝕟 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕞𝕪 𝕠𝕟𝕝𝕪 𝕙𝕠𝕞𝕖, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕀’𝕞 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕗𝕦𝕤𝕖𝕕. 𝕀 𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕛𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕪𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖.”
“Not so fast, Genesis. Your problem is not unsolvable. In fact, I think I know exactly what’s going on with you. Why you say you can’t feel happy.”
“Yes. Though only once prior in my travels have I seen such a problem, it is very clear to see. Genesis, what’s wrong with you is that you’re incomplete. You’ve got a heart and a brain by the looks of it, but you completely lack a soul. It’s simple, really.”
“ℍ𝕠𝕨 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕤 𝕖𝕩𝕚𝕤𝕥?”
“Listen, humans may get science, but us trolls have them beat when it comes to the arcane. Those apes get too worked up arguing amongst themselves to ever see the truth.” She looked all around them. “You see… in nature, all things possess souls. They are what allow them to go on living, stable under the gravity of the god’s hatred. Just like minds and bodies, souls can evolve as well, and to much greater effect than either. Us trolls sprang forth when a small strain of Aliter Virus was put through a bit of mystical torment I’ll not bore you with here, and out came a new race of intelligent beings. To fit in with humans, we slowly adapted to look like them. Though, at the end of the day, we’re not even mammals, and the humans certainly treat us as such. But though we are asexual, and perhaps cannot think in the same way as humans… we all still have souls, because we are scions of god. We are well aware of these souls, as they provide us with “meaning,” and allow us to thrive. So… for a being to lack a soul is, as you can hopefully understand, a titanic design flaw. A being without a soul… would be a being incapable of self-love, one that drowns in sorrow and can only stay afloat by clinging to others.”
“𝕊𝕠… 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕕𝕠𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕦𝕗𝕗𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕒 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝?”
“𝓞𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸𝓱𝓸~! Not at all, my friend. Listen… I think I might know a way to hook you up with a soul.”
“𝕁𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥?”
“It won’t be easy… not in the slightest. I’ll have to return to a lot of things I’d rather not, and we’d both struggle… but I think that for the sake of your happiness, it might just be worth it.”
“ℍ𝕠𝕨? 𝕀…” Their heart began to race with oil. “𝕋𝕖𝕝𝕝 𝕞𝕖 𝕙𝕠𝕨!”
“Not so fast… I may wish to see your narrative conclude, but I have one rule I always abide by… Genesis, if you truly want my help, you must prove your conviction and loyalty by helping me in turn. Such a trade is only natural and good practice among true friends. For you see, even though there is very little I really need in this world, I make it a point to keep all my good deeds a fair trade… so that way, I get something in return, even if karma doesn’t pay off.”
“So what do you say? Will you help me with a little… something?”
“𝕀’𝕝𝕝 𝕕𝕠 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣 𝕚𝕥 𝕥𝕒𝕜𝕖𝕤 𝕚𝕗 𝕚𝕥 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕟𝕤 𝕘𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝.”
“Okay, good. Now listen… before I can help you, I’ll need one thing either way… It’s something someone I know likes very much, and could easily be exchanged to fix your problem or anything else I might want.” She told them.
“The blood of a certain child.”
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