Last Breath of Winter:Characters:Mask:History

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Life 1- Ionus Paktrichter


Father was never a terribly well-liked man. Not that he was hated or found distasteful, mind you. He just suffered the stigma of man who brought with him unpleasant facts. The people of Whitewall seemed to be of a split mind on Father. One group seemed to think that if they could stay in his presence and become a friend or resource of sorts that it would keep them protected from his choices. The other, undoubtedly the larger faction, sought to remain invisible to my father, that he might not know their names or faces. In truth, the was no difference, for it was not my father's choice to be made- it was the duty of his station. You see, my father was Judge Hahnis Paktrichter, the Judge of Contracts, and the selector of those who were to be sacrificed for the sake of the city and the good of all.

Of course, as the son of a twelfth generation Judge, the same cloud seemed to follow me. My mother's death during childbirth only helped spread the rumors of our family (Indeed, my father's refusal to tell even me about my mother has stirred my curiosity at times.). I can remember hearing children and wives whispering as I passed- that my ancestors were actually the children of man and ghost, that food turned to ash in our mouths, that women could be rendered barren by drinking from our cups... the sort of drivel that is passed in the cold evenings when no other form of idiocy will stir the heart to sufficient warmth. In my earliest years, I must admit I carried the stories with almost a measure of pride. As I grew up, however, the cost of such an aloof distance made itself more clear.

By the most wise forethought of my father, I spent much of my youth traveling. Each spring I left for other corners of Creation- the Imperial Isle, the Haslanti League, Halta, Sijan, Lookshy... It was exciting, of course, but the greatest boon was the comfort that anonymity brought to my interactions with foreigners. I suppose it was that factor above all that created my love for travel. Travel also allowed me to become comfortable with goodbyes and conclusions, cradled in the knowledge of new beginnings over the horizon.

While most of the year was open to adventure, Winter was always spent at home with Father. Each winter I studied the peculiarities of Whitewall law, the procedures that the Judge used for selections, and any other lessons my father found appropriate.

Life 2- Judge Paktrichter

"Time to choose, son."

Life 3- Reckoner Boundless Aphelion, Chosen of Endings

And then there was Blackness.

Life 4- Mask Rent Asunder, Moonshadow Abyssal, Avenger of the Betrayed

Blackness. I remember Blackness. At first it was an oppressive inky depth that swelled and churned around me. I felt as if I was falling without descending; dark torrents whipping around, clawing at me, smothering me, blocking out everything except me and my confusion and fear. I have no idea how long I fought- as long as I had the strength, for sure. I just -knew- if I held on long enough, I could figure out an escape. I -knew- I was smarter than death. And then, it happened. I gave up. No, I did not give up. I realized that life was simply no longer an option. It was in that moment I found that peace that I had always tried to impart to those whose stories I had to end. It was oddly blissful, in truth.