How the character relates to their own race
“Will there be anything else, my lord?”
“No. Now get out. I do not wish to be disturbed again today.” He sat, back ramrod straight, until he heard the door close. Only when he was sure he was alone, the servants well away, did he relax and the air of command leave him. He was free today, his master elsewhere, though given his position, what he was, freedom was somewhat limited. At least he wasn’t bent double over the tub again, his stomach wracked in agony. Those days were always free, and never wanted.
He wondered what he should do with himself. He could go out into the city. Nothing was stopping him, but if he did he couldn’t be himself. Only here, locked away in the god’s quarters, could he drop the facade. Being the mortal vessel of a deity was a great honor, or so it looked from the outside. Only one other man even knew he existed anymore. When he’d come of age and the god had taken him for the first time, the people had assumed his mind had been consumed, a feast for the nesting deity. Before then, he’d always thought that was what was going to happen, too.
At the time, he’d been pleased to still live. These days, he thought death might have been easier. The god wasn’t always present in his body, but in order to keep the facade he had to act like he was. It made the opulent quarters little more than a prison, the elaborate costume the garb of an invader. It had taken him years to fully learn to impersonate the god. Years in which, he’d been long sure, his humanity had been burned away.
Despite the feathered wings on his back, denoting him as the god’s vessel, he was human. He would live a similar span. His body could fall ill or be hurt in the same way, if the god allowed it. He felt the same pain and euphoria, joy and sorrow, even if he’d long since given up dreams. But he wasn’t sure he’d ever really understood his own race the way they understood themselves. He’d never really had the chance to.
From the time of his birth he’d been marked as different. He’d been taught his body had never belonged to him, his mind merely a pilot to keep the flesh safe and ready to be sacrificed. He’d been coddled and prepared, making him ready and willing to receive the god. He’d watched out of windows as others lead their lives, laughing, fearing, throwing themselves into the trials of the every day. He attended festival days, but in a special position, never getting to dance, or revel. Always watching from afar. Despite this, he’d developed a fondness for the people he couldn’t join. His heart reached out to them, as someone in the dark might to a candle flame.
He was never supposed to care about the mortal world. Other sacrifices threw themselves into the opulence showered upon them. All of that did little to draw his attention. There had been keepers, teachers, and the occasional playmate, people to whom his care had been drawn. Those same people now only bowed and heaped praise, while someone else moved his hands, and spoke with his mouth. There were times he hardly believed himself little more than a puppet, a container, far less than human.
The god reveled in his own depravities. Flesh, blood, gore, mind, all of it. As the god wore his flesh, he was party to every moment. He saw minds pried open to horror, bodies convulsing in pain, heard screams in the air. He’d tasted their flesh on his lips, felt the weight of it in his stomach. In those moments, he saw humans the way the god did. They were insects, toys. So easily broken and so very delicious. Even as the god’s desires coursed around him, white hot, he never gave himself over to it, though it would have been far easier to do so. His heart wept for anyone caught in the serpent’s coils. He understood, because he was there too. Each time it became harder, each time humanity felt a bit further away. One day, he was sure, his own heart would crack under the strain.
But there was, perhaps, hope. He knew he would never been free of the god, but there was a man who knew him for what he was. The warrior had seen his true face, had held him in his arms, had been angry at the things done to him. The warrior had suffered too, not always willingly. He was a connection, an anchor to the world of men, something he thought he’d lost forever. Not even the god himself seemed able to stop him, or intimidate him. He was unlike any person he’d ever met.
He felt more alive with him than he had in a very long time. He looked forward to being in control, even if he was trapped away in these rooms. He thought more often of the people outside, of their well being. It might not have been freedom, but it was life, and it pulsed like a light in his chest. Whatever he might be, each time the man was with him, he felt more human than he ever had.