Chapter 108: Shattered Memories

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That day was the day when the world awoke. When the world saw that the boogeymen it laughed at, the myths they cast as twopenny villains, were all too real. They learned that there were heroes among them, just as powerful as the villains, and they feared them.

***

He had lost track of time down below. 

Laidu had already tried to melt the metal. That trick had worked before, in a way. Heating metal made it softer and pliable, and the last time Laidu had tried, he had ripped through the manacles. 

Now, the dull grey metal soaked up heat, yet remained cool to the touch. Faces and voices danced about him, before the strain of the power made him collapse. The manacles, secured to two large stone pillars, held him up and made his shoulders ache if he hung too long on them. Then again, the various gashes on his chest and legs where they had taken knives to him had hurt worse. His golden scales were covered in dried blood.

They had stripped him of his fine clothes, and Laidu wore a ragged loincloth, made of a fireproof material. It was doubtful that they had prepared that garment specifically for him; more likely, they had made the loincloth out of scrap cloth. That theory seemed much more likely, seeing as the torturers were wearing robes made out of the same material.

He needed something. He needed a better weapon, someone who knew how to get out of this. He had his other powers. Laidu could still levitate with his Weightless Blood. But he needed more knowledge. 

He needed Rhaedra. 

But to do that, he needed Rhaedra's name. And everything he tried hurt. Now, however, he had an idea. Rhaem. Kasran. Anyone. I need your help. 

What do you want? They all answered at once. 

I need to know the meaning of Rhaedra's name. Do you remember anything? Anything from before he lost his mind and became you? 

They were silent. He wants the old memories. 

Does he? 

Yes. He just asked for them. 

But does he deserve them? 

Don't mess with me, Laidu said. The voices were all indistinct, all blending together. Just give me the memories. 

Very well. 

Everything went white. 

***

He stared up at the sky, at the cold stars that looked back at him. He stared up at the cold, wide universe, with all its darkness and the fear that lurked within, all the wonder and horror that was kept secret by vast distance and shadow. 

He stared up, awed and horrified, before his mother swept him under her wing, keeping him close to her flank, keeping her little hatchling safe and warm.

***

That's it? Laidu asked.

For now. Wait. Rhaem was speaking, and Laidu could hear the frustration in his voice. We cannot tell which memories hold the keys to the true name, our name, directly. We must approach them through sideways avenues of thought.

What does that even mean? Laidu asked. 

We have to seek other signs, tertiary signs in the memories. He has forgotten his true name, his very identity, for the pain that he had felt made it so he couldn't bear to be himself. He who we were cannot remember his own name, cannot bear to do so. Thus, it falls to you to remember for him. 

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