(This is in response to the Weekly Writing challenge: The Power of Names. Hope you guys like it.)
A forgettable young man hurries along a crowded cosmopolitan street, int the middle of one of the busiest evenings of the Imperial Calendar*, New Year’s Eve. He is wearing a great trenchcoat made of heavy cloth, wrapped around his tall and slender physique. He eyes his surroundings, taking good, long looks into the shadowy alleys and corner stores. The faceless mass of people never noticed it, but there were bright, incandescent red eyes staring back at the man.
The traditional paper lanterns were suspended high above their heads on a metal line, lighted by the gentle flames within. Left and right, there were people offering good-luck charms, talismans of all shapes and sizes, as well as necessities for the New Year’s Eve dinner table. All of them overshadowed by the titans that were the skyscrapers and commercial buildings and department stores that dominate the Capitol, selling their own brand of life-giving baubles and regenerative elixirs.
But this “young” man is looking for a different type of absolution tonight, on this festive, festive night.
I’ve been on the run for several decades now. I can’t tell you exactly how I got into this mess, but it has something to do with me doing forbidden rites at the right place at the right time. Its given me an unholy long life, control over the Aethyr*, among other terrifying and inhuman feats.
All of it for the low, low price of my name.
And, no, do not consider it, not for one moment. Never relinquish your name, the one given to you at birth, until you have something to replace it with, or if you’re already on your way to Nirvana. You can’t possibly know what it feels like to live without a name. Of course, there would always be the inconvenience of having to fabricate an identity over and over again, but that’s just the beginning…
Your name is where the “YOU” that you think you are begins. It is the dewdrop that condenses the storm that is the person, a placeholder for your own mark to be left in the world. Imagine being merely an existence, but never really living. No one knowing or becoming aware of your existence. You would always be that faceless stranger at the train. That nameless man you sat beside to in the bus. My powers could grant me power over my immediate reality without so much as making me sweat, but the Astral* placeholder for others to actually recognize that it was me that made the stars burn out before them, or caused the dead to come back to life, was missing, so I slowly faded from their consciousness, and they would soon relegate the causes of those miracles to more mundane sources.
And there’s also one more thing…
This young-looking man reaches an abandoned part of the marketplace district, and he slowed his pace as he noticed the fact that he was the only one there. It becomes difficult to breathe as the air grows thicker, colder. He pulls his coat over him to get warmer, to no avail. Shivering slightly, he gets truly uncomfortable as he feels the weight of over a thousand pairs of eyes gaze upon him. He looks into the darkness, but sees nothing.
I said something about names being the placeholders for one’s existence in the Astral, right? Lack of a placeholder would mean a lot of potential space. And remember that word, Potential. It comes from the word Potent.
And things with a lot of Potential, are great energy sources for those who feed on pure energy.
Did I ever say WHY I was on the run?
The winds pick up, quickly rustling up the light paper trash and plastic litter strewn across the empty pathway.
It’s because I’m on the Menu.
Shadows coalesce into a barely human form, rising from the ground up, terminating in a horrible-looking impression of a human skull.
Y’know, Main Course…
It opened its jaws and let out a very inhuman screech before lunging furiously unto the silver-haired man in the abandoned street.
I’ve got to be somewhere! Of all the occasions to run into a metaphysical nasty!
The silver-haired man swiftly faced the creature and wrote a sigil into the air between him and the incoming creature in glowing red glyphs.
And blinding silvery light shot into the darkness of the night.
*Imperial Calendar : The official calendar of the Serenian Empire.
*Aethyr: The probabilistic substance that forms from the thoughts and emotions of sentient beings.
*Astral: A parallel plane of existence made of completely of Aethyr.