Although not entirely neccessary, it is advised to read the Manhunt for context.
Born to die.
I used to one of those. The Storybook had told me that I were to perish, quite pathetically, drowning in the waves off an island cliff. Idyllic. Picturesque. Romantic.
You know, I intensely dislike that phrase. “Born to die”. It’s far too poetic, like those among us are some inevitable tragedy, people too pure for the world, gone before their time. I especially hated it being applied to what once had been my destiny.
Listen, Ambassador Fanfarinet is not some tragic hero, destroyed by hubris, the very trait that made him great. His death was not for drama, or as a pathetic representation of humanity. He died because he was a dick.
Once upon a time, I looked at destined death in the eye and accepted it. I had looked at the rest of my destiny, and subsequently decided that I wanted to get to the dying part sooner.
Now, everything has changed. Being the Ambassador is not my destiny. It is not my life. It is, in fact, the antithesis of who I am.
To abandon a destiny that told me I was only worthy of death clearly meant one thing.
I was meant to survive.
Straight A* student, outstanding citizen Bastion Fanfarinet is going to be a highschool dropout.
Let me hexplain. Through a curious series of incidents, I discovered that my uncle, whose destiny I once had, fathered several illegitimate children. After a friendship building roadtrip with a dear physician friend of mine, I encountered these children, and one of them – Gabriel Benoît – was more than willing to take over the role as the next Ambassador Fanfarinet.
Now, I have no early death in store. I have a future.
You see, before this destiny change, I mapped out the rest of my life perfectly – my “five year plan”. Every detail in that plan was failproof, and the best part was that it didn’t even require five years.
However, since then, I have thrown away that five year plan. Now that people no longer tell me what to do, it became irrelevant.
I was free from the shackles of destiny and hexpectations.
… and I was hopelessly, hopelessly lost.
(Dear Author, I have no clue what to do with my life.)
There is no place for me in Ever After High. That is certain. I cannot face my peers, I cannot face my teachers. I have abandoned everything I studied for, and I would not rather waste any resources that could be spent on any students more deserving than I.
Out there, is the real world. No, I don’t mean some metaphysical cave exterior as the philosophers like to believe. No, I intend to say that there’s something beyond highschool and study. There are kingdoms, there are parliaments. There are people going about their day to day lives. These are the ones who are the foundation! Not the legacies, as most of us are inclined to believe. There is something noble about serving in the background.
Now that I have a future, I need to find my place in it.
Ever After High is the past.
I bid you goodbye. D’Aulnoy bless.
Truth is, this is the first time in my life in which I had no clue what in Ever After I was doing.
Not even the most basic of layouts. A planned life was something of the past, and as I learnt, the past had been terrible for me, and it was the future that I must seek out.
In such times of confusion, there was only one place to turn to.
The House of Adalinda.
After shooting them a message about needing a place to stay and perhaps some work and would it be possible, dear monarchs, to ask whether any internships are available? Within the minute, they had replied with a YES in all caps, and pink comic sans at 72px. I asked them when, and they replied with an ASAP, formatted in a similar fashion.
That was enough for me, and I packed my bags for the next day.
Listen, I owe so much to them. My youth, for one thing. To work for them would be a way of repaying that debt. Additionally, I needed some place to live and contemplate on what to do left. With no destiny and no qualifications and no will to stay in highschool, this was the only place that could feasibly house me.
While boarding the train out of the mess of the school of Ever After High, I posted a message that I was leaving this place on Pagebook, MyChapter and my public MirrorBlog, in order to take up that elusive internship. I would be working with their famed parliament figures, managing stocks and watching trade agreements take place.
It was a very commercial kingdom, there would be plenty of work and little opportunity to do anything for myself.
If I managed to envelope myself completely with work, I would not have the time to get contacted by irritating people from high school wishing to ask in their fake, saccharine ways on “how I was doing”, and “how much I would be missed”, despite hardly knowing me during my time at Ever After High.
A perfect, almost too perfect, plan.
… I still have no clue what in Ever After I am doing to myself.
Listen. I haven’t been writing in this, and I’ve been feigning sickness.
Most importantly, I’ve been contemplating.
Once, someone important to me had once talked at length about how the events of the path determine the future. When I regarded their words, the past I envisioned was a past of forebearers, of those a generation before, and already so separate from me.
The past that I should have envisioned was that of my own.
How could I have thought that staying here was a good idea? The House of Adalinda had been welcoming, yes, but in the same breath it was suffocating.
When I had lived in this place previous, I had been younger, I had been brighter, I had been happier. At fourteen, I had reached my prime; there were no years in which I could ever be as great as I had been then. Now, to think back upon those times, back to youth, I’ve come to realise that I have failed myself.
I wanted to make a new start with my life, yet all I can think of is the old.
The future may be determined by the past, but what if I don’t want my past? One cannot be better if he has already reached his peak, and one cannot continue with the burdens of past hexpectations.
Could I change... could I improve and better myself, if given a clean slate?
I believe so. In other words, I know exactly what needs to be done.
I need to contact Godfather Death.
Note to Self: perhaps waking up with a start at 3am, writing down thoughts, then immediately going back to sleep is not too good of an idea. I am still struggling to process exactly what I wrote. It reads contrived, with an incredible lack of supporting points.
Yet, the last line reads soundly. Why not contact Godfather Death? Indeed, would there be any harm in doing so? At worst, I would end up with a cup of tea and a decent chat. At best-- well, I don’t quite know what is best for me. But perhaps… perhaps I might find out?
Contacting Godfather Death was no obstacle. He had a website, I soon located it. After navigating through his superfluous use of gifs and the colour pink, I found the contact form for “fan questions”.
“Dear Lanius Nightshade,” I wrote. “I’ve heard of your skills in erasing the path, of ridding evidence and causing people to doubt others’ mere existences. Is it possible if we could meet up to discuss this? As soon as possible? Sincerely, Bastion Fanfarinet.”
(Several people deserve their names to go down in history. Bastion Fanfarinet was not one of them.)
His reply was almost instantaneous.
“Please, any response from me will sound concerning on paper.”
Kid, I am so going to get that quote on a t-shirt.
Okay then, I respect your privacy and intellectual property. You wanted tea, didn’t you?
And from Godfather Death, I received a date and a time. Those two details were more than mere numbers. Within them contained opportunity.
I cannot confirm that I engaged in the conversation that followed, without any sort of law enforcement or authorities chasing me down. From here on, I speak in theoreticals and paraphrased dialogue.
Please enjoy my latest manuscript: Death and the Man.
- I hate to sound like a persistent child, but I have to ask: why? Why do you want evidence of your life erased?
- Not intensively. Just enough for people not to care, and to forget, and to forego any thought of hunting me down.
- That is a simple enough job.
- Thank you. Might I ask another question?
- Of course. I love questions.
- Do you actually get any fan questions in the “fan question submission” box on your website?
- (face lights up)
- Yes! And lovely ones, too. They’re always so interested about my work. Sometimes they even send me memes - how kind is that?
- That is delightful. Do you have any particularly favourite comments that you’re willing to share?
- Of course I do, but I have the feeling that you’re trying to distract and appeal to me, so I get the opportunity to enjoy talking about myself. That, of course, makes our interactions much more appealing to me, and you come off as much more amicable, so I’ll be more easily talked into doing favours.
- I do enjoy how we can condense what had been a full hour of conversation in a few short sentences.
- Our concision is much well-spoken of.
- But we have strayed too far with this commentary. We must get back to the topic at hand.
- Indeed. Son, you’re sixteen. That is still so young. Even if I did erase you from current memory and history, I doubt you would have the means to start a new life for yourself.
- I can obtain the identification to pass as older than I am. I’m sure I have gained maturity past my years.
- I do not know whether or not you are praising yourself for that. It does not matter if you are, for there is nothing as tragic as lost childhood.
- You lecture like a parent attempting to fulfill their life dreams through their children.
- No comment.
Once again, everything is absolutely theoretical.
Death asks Man for a favour. Not a deal, a favour, he insists as he slips a glove over a bony hand. Man accepts, on his own terms, with a brief handshake.
The two part.
Scene change. Enter Demon.
Man and Demon talk over manila files and cream-coloured paper. Over legal documents stamped with red ink so dark it browns under the light.
Talking persists, sentences carefully chosen. Every word is carefully weighed, syntax and phrasing scrutinised for loopholes and errors in logic.
Eventually, they sign, shake hands - but instead of a somber smile on Man’s face, it is a grin.
Man never grins.
“Contracts,” he says, “are not legally binding when made with a minor.”
Without delay, he grabs papers, tears himself out of the chair, and calmly exits.
Is this what it means to live, he wonders, once out of the room and out of the building, to attract the ire of demons and otherworldly creatures?
Exit Man. Enter the new thrill of besting bets.
When Death encounters Man again, they exchange the papers, and - not a handshake this time, but - a hi-five.
“I don’t hi-five,” he insists.
“Well, now there’s a first.” One needs muscles to smile, but in spite of that fact, it was possible to discern a grin on that skulled face.
Man attempts a smile in return. It’s forced - but it’s friendly, not polite.
“Thank you,” says Death. His voice trails off. For a moment, it seemed he might add another sentence fragment.
“No, thank you,” I had said in return. The words came natural, without practised ease. “I… greatly appreciate the second chance.”
And so, Godfather Death went off to do what he did best.
Where am I now? Alive, and never the more content to be so. Still, there are days where my mind breaks down; these remind me that I am still not free from the disease that ravaged my life.
Despite so, staring out into the Swiss countryside, only sheep and mountains, surrounded by books and writing utensils, living a life of my own autonomy and free will, is perhaps the greatest reminder of all. One can escape what was once fate, and survive.
Today, I thought of him. Fourteen year old Bastion Fanfarinet. Optimistic, shining. He could have gone on to do greater things, had it not been for the hexpectations of destiny.
He and I -- we’re no longer the same person. We’ve separate now, and remain thus. What he could have been is greater than what I will be now. In this fact, I find no disturbance, but an odd sense of comfort.
There's hope in me still.