My stories were all that I was made of, once. When I was younger, stronger and braver, everything I did was worth singing about. My aim never wavered, my arms never tired and my opponents never lasted. I could move mountains with my hands, jump oceans in a single bound and fight wars for people who loved me. I made and broke kings, I saved and killed thousands, I ravaged and built empires. I lived in the certainty of eternal youth for as long as my help was sought and my songs were sung. I was sure I would never die for as long as my stories were told. I was a hero, make no mistake, but my stories were all that made me.
It was a time of peace, an in-between, when my mortality started to catch up with me. An evening with my children, I was teaching my daughter to string a bow, when I realized I couldn’t see so clear. I had to try three times to do something I used to do without thinking. My hands shaking, I left my daughter there and walked away in a daze. For three days and three nights, I left my home: For the first time in my life, my strength had betrayed me and I had no answers for myself. For the first time in my life, I could taste bile and fear in my mouth: neither of which you should mix with anything.
Like a curse that came to fruition, everything I knew rapidly fell apart. When I returned on the morning of the fourth day, all I could see was yellow. I speak in no metaphor. The whole world was in monotone, and all I could see was yellow. My wife left me, taking my children with her. My ruler betrayed me, taking my loyalties with him. My friends abandoned me, taking my trust with them. No sooner than was I blind, no sooner than I lost my footing, no sooner than I was tired, my stories came unraveling behind my back.
Me, I took a hero’s path. I sacrificed myself for the good of my stories. I left them behind with their happy endings. When you find my stories, I will be young and handsome; proud as a hero about everything I’ve done. When you find my stories, you find only what I was, not what I have become.
You think your stories can make you? You’re wrong. Your stories are all you are. Stories can take from you everything you’ve ever got, and never return them to you. They can make you believe their own truths, they can make you forget. They are an act of smoke and mirrors, and they never tell you what they know for sure.
When you undo your stories, they come after you.