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Night Vision

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I may lie beside him, but seldom do I sleep. I've compared him to an angel, and by night he seems all the more radiant. Perhaps it is the immense power of the gods, or his naturally fair skin, but he almost seems to shine in the moonlight, standing out against the darkness of the rough blankets and sheets. Or maybe it is only that he is what I most want to see, and so I do. Such is my talent, after all.

He cries in his sleep - quite often, though it is a very, very rare thing indeed when he is awake. Even then he is beautiful, he shines - his face does not contort in his misery. It is a silent, accepted distress that he suffers at night, and he has become accustomed to it after many years. Before he and I met, no one had ever guessed at it, for he kept his tears hidden. I feel privileged to be their sole witness.

And so I remain awake some nights, and watch him as he lies asleep at my side, if we are not in each other's arms. Usually he is on his back; his metal limbs make it uncomfortable to lie on one side unless he has some kind of support, such as my arm, to carry some of the weight of his body. His head is tilted ever so slightly to the side, towards me, and by now I know every curve of his face by heart - I could trace the lines that his tears will follow before they rise in the corners of his eyes.

When I do sleep, I usually have one hand extended towards him, or perhaps my arm lies under his shoulders or across his waist. I make it accessible to him so that he need not think too much before touching me. Otherwise, he might grow self-conscious before reaching out, as he used to... but then, there are some nights that I have been awakened by my whispered name.

This is also why I seldom sleep the full night - his dreams are filled with horrors beyond what I can imagine. He has tried to describe some to me, those of the end of the world, but they are only words strung together, and therefore not so disturbing to me as they are to him. Fire rains from the heavens. The earth screams. Stars fall from the sky. Does hearing those words, especially in a soft, gentle voice such as his, inspire anywhere near the kind of terror it must be to witness such things?

He is the strongest, most courageous person I have ever met, far beyond mortal concerns of physical safety, and yet he wakes trembling, and sometimes crying. Sometimes he gets out of bed and goes to the window, staring outside at the sky to reassure himself that the day has not come yet.

He is a prophet, though, and I have learned to trust in his visions. He tells me that the day is fast approaching, brought about not by some whim of the gods, but the greed and duplicity of mankind. I've no reason to question this, for I've witnessed plenty of greed and duplicity in my twenty-odd years, and I've only known a small portion of the world. How much more sin lies beyond the confines of my perception? Someday that day will come, I've no doubt. Probably soon.

Though perhaps not within my lifetime. We live in a dangerous era, and we of Müllenkamp are in more danger than most, for we openly rebel against the governing church of St. Iocus. We have our swords close at hand even in the night, and spells on the tips of our tongues. Many of our brethren have fallen already, and as a swordsman, I've come within reach of death too many times to count.

He, though, is immortal. Even if a sword were to pierce his heart, it would matter little. He will certainly live until the day he has seen, and the world will go mad around him.

...Will I be at his side then? Even if I am, what can I do to comfort him when his visions come to pass?

I am no prophet - I know not what the next day will bring. I must do what I can now, and that is to watch him sleep, to be ready to take him into my arms when he wakes, to hold him closely until he has calmed and can rest again. After all he has given me, I would do whatever I can for him, no matter how small.