• There only seems to be one thing that I remember from my twisted past. Beneath the writhing shadows of amnesia that fogs all else are the simple rough and tumble games of my initial training that forged the path to my grim occupation. Though I know well the history to my kind, our immortal abilities and extraordinary opportunities, it confuses me to this day why it had been so effective to my present actions. I often wondered about those days training with others of my kind, and treating the vital kill and survive aspects to our lives like a game played by children in the streets of the old bell towers watched over by the religious church. They were no innocent pastime. We were not watched by god for our safety and well being.
    I remembered well the first time I severed a man’s head from his shoulders, leaving a precise cut in the center of the neck in a slightly slanted line. There was neigh a fray upon the flesh with that clean stroke that fooled even the heart to continue pumping blood into the arteries no longer there. The blade had cut through the spine like cheese, revealing the soft cartilage and softer cord exposed like the consistency of thin noodles barely held together by a firm slime of connective tissue. This first time I severed a man’s head from his shoulders I had been simply training, and that man was simply my brother. After a hard day working and proving our worth to a master we could never see, this new game showed us the brutality, but fluidity of killing someone. Head hunting. It was like a twisted game of tag. The sides were equal and there were no dominating parties that hunted any particular first or second. Our weapons were not our hands and a gentle brush of the fingers, but swift blades either sword or disk. The objective was clear in this game; swiftly and majestically dispose of your opponents’ head. Do it without injuring yourself, and preferably without being detected.
    That day, stepping over the warm corpse of my brother, I discovered what it would be like taking a life as my true resolve. That calling given to us by the gathered and many unable to overtake the few and sporadic leading their lives in a spiral towards hell and insanity. It taught me there was no purity in my existence, but there was ability to create it through the blood I would spill. I picked up the young man’s head carefully and fondly, cupping my hands at the back of his mandible to support the flesh fully so not to drop the severed piece a second time. His face was soiled in his blood, his fire hair wet and knotted. I studied, unsure of what I had done. It had not yet been shown to us the main aspect that made us as feared and perfect as our master so proudly preached. That was what this game had been for. And in a blood lusted blindness, eager to perform my training well and effectively, I had struck down my own beloved brother.
    His ink black eyes blinked at me, and a sneer came to his nose. His body, laden in the dust it fell in rolled to one side tiredly as if attempting to slink out of the hammock it called bed, slowly rising from its back to sit reclined. Supported by one bloodied arm, the other reached up towards the empty space where his once head would have sat in the attempts to rub his eyes as if the blow had simply knocked him unconscious. There was a spasm of surprise when that wavering hand fell sloppily upon the moist stump of flesh from the shoulders. I remember being very confused, looking to the active body searching as if the nervous pulses from my brother’s red headed brain still reached his muscles. And yet, all of the remorse I might have felt about the action I had committed of my kin vanished and was swiftly replaced with the feeling of betrayal. Somehow I felt deceived that I had been tricked to killing my brother, only to find he could not die. A loss of head could not kill us. It took to our final training to discover this wonderful and defying property, and now as we discovered it they tell us why. For if we knew from the beginning that a blow to the skull or a severed artery could be no mortality, a broken bone or missing limb no pause then we would become cocky and sloppy. Our caution would be wasted, and we lose the ability to avert recklessness. Habits and memory must be developed first, for they are difficult to overturn.
    I felt his jaw flex in my fingers, and my suddenly deadened eyes shifted back to it, looking closely at the complaints slipping through his mouth with no sounds to aid them. He was unfaltered, just as he always was, a carp, a whining head that no one would listen to and therefore was mute. It reminded me that he sorely detested us all, I most of all but no reasons to it. But he worked hardest and followed closest to the heels of his betters and his closers as if a hungry dog who would show loyalty to anyone with a scrap in their hand.
    Tenderly as his brother, I offered back his head to the body and helped it place the piece back where it belonged. I was concerned for him who wavered there, hands feeling upwards for his skull and skin in confusion and revelation. At contact, once steady, the sides of the wound reached for each other like eager fingers and clenched at the seam as if a thread were mending the flesh. Soon, the seam raw and red bubbled like a thin scar in the precise path of the blade that had struck his throat and he let out a cough sputtering blood that had leaked into his lungs from the wound. But he was whole, if not paled to an unusual sickly bleached caramel. After emptying the flesh for air filled with blood in his chest, he looked to me and grimaced with a cursing to my birth. In return I simply grinned, an honest beam that took his resentment and flew it forth and away. So I left him there to answer to his superior and I to mine, with the last memory of those moments in my youth reminding me of his renewed resentment that he would remain for ten years later than I would finish, and bitterness to my own responsibility that birthed confusion to method. I never understood.