A long time ago, a princess had a baby boy. The only name he ever knew was ... Ning, inscribed on his arm bracelet. In the beginning the metal was slick, clear with a shine kissed by rays of light. Love also encompassed its shape because only a mother’s touch can make a gift last for as long as it did.
Only half of it remained when the kingdom fell. Shortly after, he came to see the world.
His parents were always of poor need giving the baby to whoever desired it, hoping for the best with a mouth less to feed in the house. Some even forgot to feed or bathe him while others left him for days in the fields where dog or deer mothers would let him suckle for a while and then run away.
One thing nobody could do: take the bracelet off.
Like luck had not dealt him all the bad cards already, the only time those around saw him smile was during thunderstorms, or on boats when all the sailors were praying to the Marina god, with the keel nearly tipped, his laughter and cheerful happiness only deepened the hate they had for him.
Years passed like this and the boy was still small, feeble, sickly with periods in which he would stare at the empty sky, because the stars had not been born yet.
Lurking in the streets, scraping for whatever fell off tables, brought him to a sewer below a building where people had gathered in a great number. Sliding and grinding he found a space below the main room and after he lifted a piece of timber, his sight was illuminated by the view:
In front of the crowd, two men and a woman faced each other. A low bearing big nose man prayed with a chirping voice to his master, a taller individual who stood upon a throne made of gems and rubies. Such were the jewels that donned that chair. No other light was needed in this hall. In the corner she was crying..
And then the woman remained alone.
“How loathsome will my destiny be in the end? Your loss has vanished my faith and all that I am is but a shadow of a shadow of someone you loved. All the gems in the world smashed and torn asunder in a vile pestle. This is for all that I will never be anymore.
The people in the room were clapping so hard, but he was empty. After they all left, silence stood between him and the throne. Step by step, an unmistakable feeling of loneliness covered his heart. It did not go away even when he doze off upon it.
The next day it was raining. Drink to his heart’s contempt he did, because the sky loved him enough to quench an aching thirst. Afterwards, on a hill overlooking the city, where some ruins guarded the view, a shelter welcomed his feet alone.
Inside these broken-down walls and under the caved in roof Ning would feel, for some unknown reason, home.
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