Private Tales I am Thee, and Thou Art Me...

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Orion

A Living Illusion
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"Tired? If you wish to sleep, you may do so wherever you please. There is a bed behind that door. I cannot rest just yet. I have something that I must attend to first." He didn't seem to take any offense from his forwardness, and without another word he walked to the oven, his hands sliding out of his cloak and unbuttoning it as he did so. With a soft thud, his heavy cloak hit the ground. Orion seemingly hadn't been wearing anything over his chest underneath the garment. His upper half was exposed, as was what he'd been hiding on it.

He didn't have the figure of a dying man; He was quite fit, and looked to be in phenomenal shape. His fitness wasn't the first thing that would come to mind when looking at him, however. Covering his entire chest and back were faded black marks, seemingly burned into his flesh. They were not random, drawn into symbols and runes that Volker wouldn't be blamed for not understanding. The flesh around the burns was red, but if Orion was in pain, he hid it quite well.

"I burn wards into my skin, to give me some manner of containing the energy that I struggle with. It does not do much, but it does enough to warrant re-warding myself every few nights." He explains quietly, taking a chunk of black stone and lighting a fire in the oven.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker was thankful his little slip had been overlooked...until he heard the cloak drop. He stared, blushing, and seemed to forget his hand was still fiddling with the books. One fell, and he caught it moments before it hit the ground. He replaced it, avoiding Orion’s gaze. He watched him light a fire in the oven, looking over the wards on his skin. “You do this to prevent what happened, from happening again. Losing control.” He said quietly, thankful to have some sort of distraction from the chest he so desperately wanted to touch.

He didn’t know what to do. He knew what he wanted but no idea how to go about doing it, and Orion being busy. He ran his hand over his head, and swallowed thickly. “Why must you burn them? Why not paint them?” He asked.

Volker leaned against the table, watching Orion. He was utterly distracted, imagining his fingers in that soft mane of black hair, touching him, sharing a bed with him. How it would feel to be laid back against the sheets and taken. He looked down again and crossed his arms over his chest. He didn’t know what to do, but he couldn’t stop blushing. “Shall I cook us something?” He asked.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion felt Volkers eyes burning into his back, and a lip curled somewhat unpleasantly. He wasn't fond of being scrutinized over the markings on his back, but he understood why they would draw attention. "To put it simply, burning lasts longer. The deeper the burn, The longer before I have to re-ward myself."

He sat down on the ground with his legs crossed over each other. Gathering his hair from his back and pushing it over the front of his shoulders he retrieves the heated charcoal and reaches behind him to slowly drag it along as back his face tightening with the sting. Slowly he drew along the faded lines that could still be seen on the flesh of his back. Perhaps in an attempt to distract himself, He speaks to Volker. "I suppose I could stand to eat something, but only if you get control of your nerves." He called Volkers behavior out rather bluntly as he finishes on his back and turns around to do the same on his chest and stomach.

"I understand you've been alone for a long time. I even empathize with that plight, but even so there are much more important matters we have to attend to before we even consider such things. You've only just arrived. Don't get ahead of yourself." It wasn't spoken as chastism, more an offered reminder of their situation.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker watched the man carve the symbols with burning charcoal. He was curious, and he knew Nestor would want to study them. So he kept a close eye and tried not to miss a thing. He did avoid looking at him when he made the remark about his nerves. The second thing the man said sounded...quite similar to something Oor would have told him. He took a small but sharp breath, as if struck.

He went to the stove and lit it, cursing himself internally for a fool. He shook his head a bit and focused on getting the fire lit, shutting the chamber. He put the kettle on, and began to look for something to cook. Preserves, perhaps?

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion dropped the charcoal to the floor with a solid thunk, leaning against the wall beside the oven and inhaling sharply through his lips. It didn't matter how many times he did it, He never truly got used to the pain. Immediately though, he felt the results of his work. The screaming voices that creeped up into his mind steadily waned ever so slightly.

He turns his head choking out more words as he watched Volker begin. "You must think me quite cold, to address you like that." He reaches for his cloak, holding it tight against his chest. "Neither of us are proficient when it comes to expressing ourselves. I promise you this is every bit as awkward for you as it is for me, though. likely not for the same reasons."

He moves away from the wall and seats himself on the rug, laying flat on his back and taking a deep breath. "I'm more exhausted than I thought. It was likely the illusion I pulled while we were walking..."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker found some tinned beans and biscuits, and began heating up the can of beans. He set the biscuits aside, and came to stand in front of Orion. “You shouldn’t sleep there. The floor is filthy and will get your cuts infected.” He said quietly, offering Orion a hand. “I will take you to bed.”

It didn’t really mean the way he sounded. He meant get Orion settled somewhere clean where he could rest. Not...the other type of taking to bed. “I will bring you your half of the food.” He clarified nervously.

He couldn’t help it. He was bad at communicating his thoughts but even worse at hiding emotions like these. Fear he could shove down deep.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion offered a smirk up at Volker. His concern was touching, if unnecessary. "I have no intention of sleeping on the rug, I'm really letting the burns settle for a moment. Once we eat, I have work that must be attended to in the Tower of Gaia, next door. It must be completed before I rest."

In truth Orion would have liked to lay down for the night, However even in his weaning sanity he was nothing if not a workaholic. For unbeknownst to his guest, The mage did have quite ambitious plans.

"Tell me Volker, you have experience being subverted by others. Does the idea of bending others wills offend you? Certainly I imagine it can't be a pleasant idea for you to think about."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker frowned. “What is it that is so urgent it cannot wait until morning? You are contained. If what you have told me is true, then that is our biggest obstacle.” He told him. He supposed a solid meal on the rug wasn’t going to hurt anything, but he was concerned for the burn marks on Orion’s back. Those could fester easily if they weren’t bound.

He glanced at the stove briefly, and sat down across from Orion to weigh his question. “I actively subvert the wills of others to stay in control of this body.” He told him. “There are hundreds inside of me straining for the light. I have to control them for the good of all of us. Why do you ask?”

Volker heard the can ping and stood up to fetch it. He found a spoon, and wrapped a cloth around the warm can to keep them from burning themselves on it. He offered Orion the tin of biscuits, and sat back down with him.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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A small hum left the mage's lips. So his ancestors were in a constant struggle for supremacy? Constantly threatening to break free and take control? He could obviously relate to such a struggle, but even as he sat up straight, stretching and wrapping his arms around his torso, he persisted.

"I don't sleep very often, you'll find. My condition makes it extremely difficult, and while I've told you much, there is also much that you have no way of knowing. I am the one who defends this place, and keeps it safe and preserved. There is something that threatens that peace in the Tower of Gaia. I was unable to kill it earlier, as I was suffering from a particularly maddening bout with myself. As a compromise, I locked it in that tower shortly before venturing out. I'm going to go and finish it off."

He accepted the tin with a thankful nod, eating slowly and quietly. "Perhaps you are correct though. If not sleep, a period of meditation could do me well. Thank you Volker. I will stay here with you then, for now. Tomorrow, I will slay that beast. Once that is done, we will decide how to move forward. In return for your staying here, I would ask that you assist me in my work."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker ate approximately half of the can of beans. For a man who was illiterate and had never approached a math classroom, he was shockingly accurate when it came to divvying up food. He offered Orion the can in exchange for the other half of the biscuits, and settled back.

“Can you not release it safely outside of the walls?” He asked. He was going to insist that Orion at least try to sleep. A man needed sleep. “What sort of creature is it? I have killed all kinds in my day. I fear nothing.”

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion accepted the exchange with a nod, slowly making his way through the half-can he was offered in return. He understood that Volker was merely concerned for him, but this was how Orion functioned. He wasn't going to begin to change just because he had a visitor.

"Not an option, unfortunately. It would only cause carnage outside of my walls. It's been tainted by the energies that linger in the air here. Wildlife wasn't meant to be exposed to the arcane, not like that beast has." He did conveniently choose not to mention what the creature was, but as he finished his meal he rose to his feet.

"You never answered my question. Very soon I will require the hands of another to assist my own. Can I count on you to be those hands?"

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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“And you did not answer mine.” Volker replied, finishing the last biscuit and rising to his feet. “Let us kill this creature; you will have an easier time with me than without. We will also sleep better knowing we do not risk being killed in our sleep.” Moreover, it would prove to Orion that he was strong enough to be a companion that shared more than just beans and dry bread.

He waited for him, quietly. “What is it we are facing? We will speak on the way.”

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion narrowed his eyes at the insistence. There was more to this than their safety; Volker wanted to prove himself. For somebody with his experience, he was proving to be rather childlike in his feelings for Orion. Could he trust Volker to do what needed to be done when the time came? Maybe this would indeed help the mage understand his new acquaintance in a deeper sense.

He wraps himself in the black cloak once more, covering his scars and his torso once more. He offers a nod to his 'partner'. "I was going to suggest you remain uninvolved. However, I suppose you may be correct in that some matter of help would be of use."

He departed the room briskly, leading Volker back down the long staircase to the main hall they'd entered from. The door to the center tower was closed, and there was nothing but silence coming from behind it. He turns around when they reach it, leaning against the frame.

"I'm going to stop us here and be honest with you, Volker. I'm not sure what exactly it is that we're about to face. It must have once been some sort of animal, but suffice it to say that the Gaia Tower is where we held most of our ingredients and concoctions. Whatever it's rummaged in has turned into nothing more than an abomination. Putting it down is a mercy, but we have to be cautious. Stay a certain distance clear of me, as I will be using my magic. Are we clear?"

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker followed Orion silently. This, at least, was something he knew how to do. Killing was in his ancestry and his blood. He had no qualms helping Orion. It was suitable repayment for him staying in the man’s home. Orion had provided him a service and Volker would do him one in return. He shook thoughts of romance out of his head, and focused on the task at hand as Orion led them down the stairs.

As they approached the other tower, he drew two knives. The longer, femur-handled blade, and a shorter, quicker knife. He nodded shortly. “Must we be cautious of something on the floor? Broken containers? It is not just you or the beast that I worry about. If the jars in this tower turned a common animal into something you could not kill on the first try; we would do well to be careful what we step in.” He said.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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The raven haired man nods. "Excellent point. I'm not sure how how badly he's struggled since I left him there. I will enter first, as my wards will protect me somewhat. When I give you the signal, you may safely follow."

With a deep breath he pushes the door open. The room beyond was dim, but lit by a glowing metal rod that was thrust into the ground with a presumably tremendous force, if the cracks in the stone surrounding it said anything. Orion slowly stepped into the room, his hands hanging at his sides. A low grumble bubbled from his throat; the main hall of Gaia Tower was a mess, with books, broken glass, and furniture from other parts of the tower ripped to shreds and littering the ground. Despite it's state, he didn't see any sign of his target.

He turns around, waving Volker in. "Watch your feet." He mouthed to him, before slowly making his way to the base of the staircase that led up the tower. The upper levels were shrouded in darkness, and he couldn't make out what lie above them. Strange tendrils of black hung from the sky like the darkness itself reaching down to touch them.

Those weren't there when he'd left.

He points up, looking at Volker. His voice comes out quietly, but audible enough for him to hear. "It's above us. I believe it's resting. We need light, can you hand me the rod? It should come right out of the ground. "

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker cautiously entered when Orion waved him in, blades drawn. He had his head low on his shoulders, protecting his throat, and his nostrils were flared to try and take in some scent. He caught the sight of the tendrils. This wasn’t going to be easy; he didn’t like the look of it. He slowly approached the light rod and yanked it free with a grunt, offering it to Orion. He was up on the balls of his feet, padding carefully.

“We should strike and kill it while it sleeps.” Volker said softly, barely audible himself. He watched Orion, and sheathed one of his longer blades in favor of a shorter throwing knife. He was quite comfortable with this method of dispatch.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion reached out, taking the rod in his hand and pulling it in. In actuality, the rod was an old staff he'd often used in his teaching days. It still found use from time to time. He nods to Volker's suggestion, but raises a hand when he draws the knife. "Hold. Wait until we know where to strike, we must not be hasty."

The mage barely registered the voice speaking in the back of his head, finishing an unspoken part to his sentence. --Because I want to rip this creature apart piece by piece, deconstructing the life that has dare flourished in my domain. I climb this ladder of Jacob to cast sinners down to where they belong.--

Maybe this subconscious monologue was what brought a small smile to his face as he began to ascend the stairs with his staff glowing bright. The stagnant air of the tower grew thicker and more pungent with the smell of death the higher he climbed. It made Orion want to gag, but he was too enthralled by the creature he now saw quite clearly.

The upper levels of the tower weren't even accessible anymore; whatever had been dwelling in this place had formed into nothing but a wall of black flesh stretching from wall to wall above the two men. The tendrils cascaded from it's form and caressed the walls as though they were it's own bed. Orion saw no sign of a head on the mass that blocked their path, but rows of teeth lined the edges of it, gnashing against the stone as though it had no control over them.

It was horrifying, and yet Orion found it so... interesting.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker lifted his head to look at the massive creature. He wasn’t scared; he had faced creatures like this before. He had a small bit of pity for the animal up there in the upper reaches of the tower. It had no idea what was happening to it. It had no maliciousness. It had merely broken in as animals did, and found more than it had bargained for.

Volker silently ascended the stairs behind Orion, looking up at the creature. At the teeth chewing along the stone. Was it in pain? He didn’t see a head. It was likely it didn’t have one anymore. He frowned. They would have to kill it, but how? He waited for Orion’s orders. The man knew what was best. He had more familiarity with the things in the tower that the animal might have gotten into.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion would have liked to be able to capture the creature. Study of it's twisted biology and a psychiatric run through would be extremely intriguing. Looking back at the expression Volker wore however, was a sobering reminder of the cruelty of such a thought. It was far from unlikely that the beast was suffering, and it was not Orion's place to condemn it to an existence similar to his own. He sighs and nods to Volker.

Setting his glowing staff off to the side, he slides his cloak off once more and hangs it on the end of said staff. He had a plan of action. Waving for Volker to follow close, he ascends a few steps more, so that they were both well clear of the base of the tower. "Stand clear, I'm going to coax him down to the bottom of the tower. If you wish to humanely euthanize this aberration, I believe I can make it's death relatively painless. Once it's down, slaying it will be your job. I will prevent it from suffering any pain."

Without waiting for confirmation, he spreads his arms wide, a wispy white glow seeming to seep from the webs of his fingers. He began to mutter incoherently under his breath up at the fleshy black mass. A thin tendril os silvery light slowly snaked it's way from Orion to the creature above them, and all of it's mass seemed to reflexively shift in his direction.

Orion presented the troubled creature with the most enticing image; The wilderness of Arethil, the lush forests this beast must have came from underneath a clear sky and warm sun. The winds tickled it's flesh, beckoning it from it's rooted spot to come forth and be free. It was not trapped. it was not in pain. It was free. All it had to do was step forward.

Loud snapping, disgusting gurgles and growls echoed off of the walls of the tower as the giant mass above them slowly released it's grip on the walls surrounding it. It sagged lower and lower as it let go, before finally falling to the bottom of the Tower of Gaia. Orion lowered his hands and hopped over the railing of the spiral staircase. He landed gracefully on a lower portion of the ascent, close enough to touch the beast, which he did with his left hand. "Now, Volker. While it is at peace."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker cautiously handed Orion the staff and moved back toward the ground floor. He was ready to defend himself and his potential mate if need be. The creature was probably confused and afraid, which helped him a bit. If it wasn’t familiar with its own twisted new anatomy, Volker would have the edge in a fight. He wasn’t liking the way it moved, but it seemed calm. Orion was luring it to the ground, and Volker gave it the space to do so.

Orion leapt down and touched the beast. It was time. Volker cautiously approached it, and tried to find some sort of head. He’d killed painlessly before; a quick blade through the back of the skull where the spinal cord was. The victim never felt a thing.

Volker found what looked most like a skull. It was twisted and deformed to be sure, and he took a few seconds to make sure it was where he wanted to hit. He aligned himself, and struck. It was quick, but Volker made sure to throw his weight and power behind the thrust. Into the back of the head, twisting and pulling out down to separate the spinal cord. Hopefully that would do it, especially as he was practically laid over the back of the animal. A second knife drove deep into it, seeking lungs or heart.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion didn't watch the actual killing of the animal. His hands pressed against the flesh of what was once a pure creature, channeling calming images into it's mind. Sustained use like this did put a strain on Orion, but releasing his hold on the creature now could cause it to go into a panic and attack Volker. He couldn't risk that.

When Volker presumably made his move, he felt every muscle that still functioned in the beast stiffen briefly, before the entire mass seemed to relax into the ground, it's movement slowing before it finally fell still. Orion let out a deep breath and removed his hands, falling back against the wall and slouching as he sat on the stairs. He hated this. He hated how he'd once been so powerful, and now could hardly hold an illusion for a matter of minutes without feeling his body tearing itself apart. He was pathetic.

He'd earned this. A life of self-loathing and regret.

His eyes lock onto Volker for a moment. Why had he brought the man to this wretched place? He didn't know the answer. It wasn't out of loneliness or a desire for another to do his bidding. A part of it was jealousy. With all of the hardships and obstacles that he had to overcome on a daily basis, he retained such strength. If only he had that fortitude, that ability...

"Volker. I can't stand on my own. Can you help me?"

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker was utterly focused on his task. He held the blade, plunging deep into the animal, until he felt that final relaxing. It was dead. He was grateful to Orion; he would not have desired a battle with it. It was better this way. It wasn’t the fault of the animal it had been turned to this. He withdrew his knives and wiped them clean on the dead beast, sheathing them.

Orion, however, seemed to be having some trouble with recovering from keeping the animal calm. He approached the man, and silently picked him up. Orion wasn’t a small creature, but Volker was the sort of person who had hauled around people from quite the young age. He swept an arm around Orion’s knees and hoisted him up with a grunt, carrying him. He headed down the stairs, with the awkward sense he might have overplayed his hand a bit. Orion was no featherweight.

Stubborn and determined, he ascended the stairs back to Orion’s tower. He was puffing by the end, but he’d proven his strength hadn’t he? He slowly let Orion down, and sat down himself.

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion wasn't expecting to be fully hoisted up: His request was only to the extent of being helped to his feet. Even so, he decided to let that slide this one time, if only because his body ached as though he'd walked for miles and miles more than he actually had earlier in the day. He'd have to return later and dispose of the creature's remnants.

He only hoped he hadn't weakened his own wards too badly with that unexpected stress. His burns hadn't had time to fully settle. As they returned to Orion's chambers, he instructed Volker to settle him back onto his feet. He was wobbly, and he did stumble a bit as he regained his footing.

Volker had exerted himself considerably, and it showed on his face. Orion's features softened slightly, a hand reaching out to pat the man's shoulder. "That was unnecessary, but appreciated nonetheless. It's late, and you must be tired from the trip. Sleep, and tomorrow we'll discuss what happens next."

Orion moved to put away his staff on a hook seemingly designed for that purpose on the wall, and hung his cloak from the staff. If he was planning on sleeping, he didn't show it.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker was, to be honest, a bit lost. He had carried Orion up the stairs, and they were both exhausted. They’d walked all the way from the city, Volker had fought that morning...he didn’t quite know what to do with his newfound freedom. Could he really do anything? They’d completed their one task, really. He knew what he wanted to do, and that was curl up into Orion’s side and rest. The man wasn’t headed into any sort of direction that resembled a bed.

Volker rose to his feet and watched Orion hang up the light staff. He knew what he could do; he could break down the monster’s carcass and see if it was edible. He didn’t fancy eating just beans all the time. The thought of climbing stairs again swayed him. In the morning. He didn’t know if he was allowed to get in the bed...which presumably lay beyond the other door.

He went to it cautiously and opened it. He didn’t want to ask the question...he cleared his throat and headed inside. He pulled his boots off, and uneasily pulled his shirt over his head. It was covered in blood. He folded it and set it on the floor. He cautiously climbed into bed, and curled up under the blankets. He stayed stock still, tense, still unsure if this was allowed.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion raised an eyebrow as he watched Volker's rather odd behavior in the adjoining room. Why was he so unsure? The man had all the power and strength that Orion held and more, and yet he acted so submissive at times. There was still far too much he didn't understand about Volker. For all his knowledge, Orion understood social norms perhaps a bit worse than he thought.

Of course, that implied there was anything normal about Volker and himself. He shakes his head, calling over to him with a droll voice. "Make yourself comfortable. There's no point in being uncomfortable now, not this far into things." He wipes his hands of blood with a cloth and tosses it carelessly aside. He certainly didn't fault Volker for his apparent respect of his property, but perhaps he read a bit too much into things.

The bedroom was neat, and seemed to double as a personal library, although it was more likely this was just a small selection of books Orion was currently reading; two tall bookcases stacked with material sat on either side of the bed, and one of the odd glowing fireless lanterns they'd passed earlier hung from the wall above the large bed. Most unique was the circular window below the light, letting fresh air from outside funnel into the room. A small rope hung from said window, allowing one to pull it to adjust the airflow.

Orion sat in the main room, again on the dirtied rug. Crossing his legs, he seemed much more content to meditate than to sleep. Why wouldn't he? Sleep burned his mind, made him see nightmarish visions. He couldn't afford to be confronted with his own terrors every night, lest he lose his sanity even quicker.

Volker