18.ii – Extract from the Notebook of X.47
I barely class as human.
Today I walked into the wrong dorm almost by accident. Almost. When the Pawns saw me, they froze – as if in fear of me, as if one of them had done a grave mistake and I had come to destroy them, as if I would kill them within a blink of their inferior eyes. How expendable, predictable they are.
But I moved off, waiting for them to stop staring and headed to my own dorm – which was less crowded and there were fewer of us.
I sit in this place, this place that I was brought up and this place that made me who I am, and wonder. I don’t think I’m supposed to be keeping a notebook. But then, I’m doing it practically in the open, so perhaps it wasn’t a huge offence.
Or maybe all my dorm-mates are too afraid to tell me so.
Castle Hugh Latimer, my Guide as he liked to call it, had raised me since I was a small child. He had told me that I wasn’t like the rest of humanity. He told me I had no mother and I had no father. He told me that I just was, and I just am. That was why I did not have a real name, he said. That’s why I was a number after a letter, like the rest of the Knights. Latimer told me that’s what made me strange and it’s what made me feared.
I remember what they did to me.
Our Order holds to strict tenets. Pawns were told to follow them.
Knights had no choice.
They castrated me after I had reached manhood, and left me buried to my neck in sand for a month. Latimer said only the strongest could survive such treatment, as only the strongest were able to serve the Order. I remember the agony, the pain and humiliation.
Had it been worth it?
To this day, there’s not a hair on my head that dares to grow – aside from my brows. We all share these qualities – eunuched and bald. It made us eerie, it made us feared, and it made us unreceptive of needs.
As a child, I believed everything I was told, but – of course – I know now it was all nonsense. Of course I had a sire, of course I had a dam. I couldn’t just simply be. That didn’t make any sense.
But it made me feel good, when I was younger.
But thinking on this… I’m beginning to wonder who they were, what they were like. Such things were not for discussion (probably because nobody knew anyway) and it was punishable. Speech was extremely limited, unless it was a question or a confession. Nobody seemed to hold the mind for niceties like, ‘Hello, how are you? Lovely day, isn’t it?’ It was considered idle chatter. A thing that common people engaged in, not someone as respectable and as feared as a Knight.
I hadn’t been given a commission in quite a while. I wonder if it had anything to do with my adventures in France, with the man who claimed to be my brother. He had said his name was Bthash and he had called me Abel and told me that I was abducted when I was still a babe in the cradle.
He said our mother was still alive.
Latimer had dismissed his claim, saying that it wasn’t possible. Someone who simply is can’t have a brother.
I can’t believe he still tells me that.
I might as well head off to bed, my ponderings will have to be put on hold. I won’t have another man to kill in a while, it seems. Not until Latimer has fully convinced me against the existence of my brother. He may just have to resort to idle chatter to get to me [*humour is difficult when you write in a book*].