Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Twenty-Nine

It was still a shock to Jaidyn to wake up and be surrounded by Keidenelle. Even though the savages never made so much as a threatening gesture toward him, he still felt very out of place. Few of them were able to communicate with him, to understand anything but the most simple words he spoke. And he couldn’t make hide nor hair out of the gibberish that made up their language. They all had strange, long names like Lyeskelkin and Drarisechjokkein and Ararditwudynold. He eventually gave up trying to pronounce any more than the first syllable or two of each person’s name. In the end, he completely gave up trying to remember their names altogether. Alay served as translator, guide, advisor, and companion all in one. He was the one Jaidyn could not have functioned without.

Most mornings, he woke to see either Alay or a small standing over him, staring down at him while he slept and went through that awkward phase between asleep and awake. Some of them had worry on their faces when he woke. Alay explained, in what broken language he had, that Jaidyn did a lot of tossing and turning in his sleep and seemed disturbed most nights. Jaidyn didn’t tell him that his sleep had been troubled with disturbing dreams ever since he had joined up with their band. Each night, he dreamed strange mixtures of his remembered stories– no, his memories, he corrected himself– of Cheyne and his other unwanted memories of Lexan.

His waking hours weren’t much better. The Keidenelle didn’t offer much in the ways of comfort or luxury. Washwater was cold, earth was his pillow, his blanket was roughspun, he had no shelter from sun or rain… it wasn’t the sort of traveling circumstances worthy of a great reborn hero.

There were times they came near villages, but the Keidenelle seemed loathe to get too near them. Come to think of it, he had never actually heard of the savages raiding villages; their attacks were always more along the lines of banditry. It was only traveling merchants and the like that were threatened by them. But he missed civilization, and oftentimes, when he knew they were near a village, he would make them wait for a day while he went in.

He didn’t like what he was hearing in the villages. Cheyne was on everyone’s lips, but his name wasn’t the one attached to the rumors. And the rumors weren’t fading, either. At each new location, he heard a half-dozen new stories about this or that that the new Cheyne had done.

“It’s all lies,” he told himself one evening as he strolled through a village. Well, he had to admit it was much more than just a village. Bigger than a town, even. This place was a small city. And his name was completely unheard of here. It was enough to drive a man mad. But he couldn’t rightly proclaim himself yet; he still hadn’t found his sword. If the Keidenelle were supposed to be helping– leading him to the sword, he thought– they were doing a sorry job of it.

Then he looked up and saw it: a finely made sword of rich steel, gold, and gems, leaning against the side of a building with no one to tend to it. “Now that is truly the blade of a hero,” he muttered to himself, strolling toward it and wrapping his hand around the jewel-studded hilt. It was almost too heavy for him, but he still lifted it and began walking away, nearly running into the sign that named the building a blacksmith’s shop.

He didn’t stop until he was back among the Keidenelle. When Alay had managed to gather everyone– even though many had already been asleep– he held up his find and proclaimed himself Cheyne reborn, proudly wielding the great sword, Sonsedhor. Only one man could be worthy of a blade such as that one, and it had found its owner.

To his great delight, the Keidenelle lifted their left hands to the backs of their heads one by one and pushed their heads into a bow. It was one of the few gestures he had learned of theirs. It was the acknowledgement of submission. When two Keidenelle had a fight or and argument, the loser made that gesture before the victor. The entire band had just made him their leader. Even Alay held his head down.

This was only right.

Becca stared at the monitor that was giving her a live feed of the patients. There was almost no point in even watching them anymore. Every day, it was the same. They had started putting them all in the only recorded room nearly two weeks ago, but their actions practically never changed. They acknowledged each other or didn’t– their alternate personalities conversing and doing… whatever it was they did. She was convinced they weren’t aware of reality. They were sharing delusions, somehow. The “how” and “why” were what Becca was most interested in uncovering now.

Emery had been confined to a straightjacket now to keep him under control, but none of them seemed to mind or even notice– even him.

The patients’ individual profiles were on the desk before her, detailing the lives she had studied until they were as familiar to her as her own life. The files even included psychological profiles from when they had first started seeing therapists– before any of them even came to Ighosia Falls.

Five different people, five different traumatic reasons for a split personality to develop, for a mind to fracture. Every one of them faced an event he or she couldn’t deal with. But how did these personalities find one another? The principles of DPD stated that at the moment of the event, the personalities would split, and the alternate one would spring to life. So how did these personalities know each other when the originals didn’t?

She thought she had them all down now, had figured out whose personality belonged to whom:

Ryan- Draygun

Emery- Rowark

Lydia- Weslyn

And she was certain now that both Vale and Joanna had two. Joanna had Sen and Kimminy, and Jaden and Xanthis belonged to Vale. Such strange names…

There only arose more questions. More questions, and no answers.

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