The man drew back against the wall, a growl that was more animal than human escaping from the confines of a throat no longer accustomed to speech. He held up one filthy hand to shield his eyes, the faint light paining him even over the long dim stretches of the underground passageways. The faint echo of voices, one deep and cruel, the other soft and desperate, tumbled into his ears, sounds jumbled so that the words lost all their meaning. That was fine with him. He had no desire to see these people. People meant nothing but more pain, more hatred, more agony. It was much better to be alone.
Resolutely turning his back, he took a few quick steps into towards the welcoming darkness of the passage that led to his tiny hovel hidden deep in the stone wall. A scream of terror tore through the passage, ending with a sickening thud. The man froze, raising his hands to his ears to block out the sound. One of the people had come from above. An invader had entered his underground world, against their will, if he judged by the sounds.
Uncertainly, he turned back towards the source of the sound and the faint light. 'No, he scolded himself, 'there's nothing you can do. Sven could have helped, but what are you? What do you think you can possibly do but bring more pain?'
The more I feel
The more I die
Nothing to give
He turned and scurried down the dark passageway, knocking aside the parasitic vermin that dwelled in the dark underworld of Doom with the ease of long practice. Pulling aside a rotted blanket, he ducked into a small cavern carved out of the rock and dropped to the slimy damp floor, grabbing instinctively for his most cherished possession. His only possession, the thing he had ventured near to the arenas that reeked of death to retrieve. He clutched the flint box to his chest, rocking and crooning tunelessly to calm himself. He could no longer remember why this object had been so important in those days. It was enough to know that this thing had mattered to Sven.
'Sven.' He brushed the thought aside impatiently. Thoughts like that were dangerous. Better to cling to what he was now, the things he needed to do to survive.
Deep inside the walls, he could hear the scrabbling sounds of the more dangerous predators, most of them the result of experiments gone wrong over time in the witch's lab. The things were being drawn out of hiding by the faint scent of fresh blood, even diluted as it was by the convoluted distance of the passageways. He shrunk further into himself in mute terror, the sounds bringing with them memories better left behind.
He should go now, before it was too late. He should go…
The malignant voice inside his soul refused to grant him even a moment's peace.
'It's better to stay here. At least the fallen one has a chance to fight alone. You've never brought anyone anything but pain, have you?'
Everything I touch, I break
The man nodded slightly, his eyes glazing as the memories of distant battles played out before him. Everywhere he looked, nothing but failure. His childhood, his training, the mission…
The source of his ultimate disgrace. With the voice laughing maliciously in the back of his mind, the memories began to unfold once again.
I scratch and tear
Until it bleeds
His mind skipped over Sven's training at the Academy, his commission into the Space Explorers. Sven's achievements were nothing. It was the disgrace that mattered. The flood of memories slowed as they passed over the trip to Arus with the Voltron Force, their capture by King Zarcon's slave ship. He should have anticipated a lingering attack, but that disgrace was small. Their escape back to Arus had been a source of redemption, even if he himself had not effected the escape on his own.
Time slowed to a more measured pace as the day of Hagar's attack neared. Sven had so prided himself on the marshal art's training his father had insisted on. His ability to sense evil intent had been legendary among his classmates.
With an expression of grim acceptance and mute pain, he watched as Sven made his way with his friends and the princess to distribute food to the people. The trip was so necessary, so right…
His chest constricted as he heard the commotion, watched Lance take off towards the courtyard at a dead run. Sven wanted to so badly to yell at Lance to stop, to slow down, that death waited around that corner, but his voice was lost in the screams of the crowd.
He watched with detachment as Sven burst into the courtyard, ordering Lance back to get help, desperate to take on the witch alone. Only Sven truly had a chance. He could at least see through her enchantments.
He felt a remote pang of sadness as Sven fell, then the memories faded into blackness.
I do not want
I only need
'Enough!' The cry tore through his consciousness, staving off the next memories as he clutched the flint box tighter to his chest. 'I don't want to remember…'
Sven's memories refused to yield to his desires, drowning out his desperate cries with the single-minded determination that marked his former personality. 'This is too important. The time for hiding is done.'
With horror he watched the attack on the hospital on planet Ebb. He could feel the foundation shaking around him, the screams of the patients too feeble to move rang in his ears. He flinched as the hated ones, the Doom slavers, shoved aside the nurse protecting the door to his room and grabbed him despite his own feeble protests. He had been thrown into the belly of a slave ship, collapsing into the press of bodies without the strength to lift his head on his own. The trip to Doom was something torn from a nightmare, total darkness touched only by screams and cries and the press of so many bodies shoved into one small space.
The head slaver had taken one look at him as they were processed, a single young man too wounded and weak to stand on his own, and immediately ordered him thrown into the Pit of Skulls. His own fall from the light into darkness slashed him, bringing to mind the fallen one and the things frantically scrabbling in the dark around him.
I only need
'Please, you must do this!'
The voice startled him. The voice was Sven. But Sven was dead, wasn't he? The man shook his head to clear it.
'I tried, don't you understand that? When my strength gradually returned, I tried to free the slaves from the arena. The guards laughed at me! I couldn't do anything!'
Something deep inside him was weeping, trying to break free of the bonds that held it in.
I only need…
Without any true understanding of his actions, the man grabbed a broken piece of board and lit the striker. The fire held his fascination for a moment and then he touched the flame to the wood. A smile broke across his face, transforming it, as the sudden flickering light cast shadows across the cavern wall.
'Now go, damn you!'
Raising the flame high above his head like Prometheus with his stolen fire, the man made his way down the familiar corridors towards the place of light.
Everything I touch, I break
The fallen one needed him. Maybe this one time, he could make a difference.
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