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His eyes opened as he stared at the ceiling within the Hotel room he rented. His eyes reflected the glimmer of the light. Within them stood darkness as Jaeden's mind flashed. Memories flickering back to years before that moment. Back to nursing his sick family and trying to hold them together. His inner demons screaming out loud inside him. As a wave of darkness washed over him as he felt it manifest.
Seeing the days leading up to this choice, the choice to come where the Will of Ulv flowed strongly. It pushed and motivated him to try at the least. To fix the pain and agony. To fix the guilt that wore his soul thin and tired. Jaeden had put in for a travel pass and got it, only going to Minatumi. Ulv's relation was good with the Gotei so that helped.
Jaeden didn't let people inside of his heart or behind that door. But this room was going to be scarred by emotion. Jaeden would let down the wall and express himself fully. He sat thinking about it as he rose from the bed. Leaving his Zanpakuo there he set about resting on his knees. Turmoil flashed around him as the scene changed.
This room had become a hologram almost of his past. His childhood blistered across the area in front of him. Failure to protect and defend those kids during the selection. "It's your fault you know, they died because you were weak Jaeden."
The voice of his guilt, the source pouring forward. Vait had risen and been well fed off Jaeden's negative emotion.
Jaeden said nothing as he watched each child killed, generations before him. Before he put an end to the selection practices. His eyes felt water pulling up in them. Sadness began to drench this room and his soul. Had he been quicker, stronger maybe he could have.
If sadness were tears he would be drowning. Jaeden's first guilt was his failure. Remaining silent he opened his eyes now. "I was a child, I will not claim innocence, but I will accept that cross and never let it happen again...EVER!
He said sending back the sadness in a burst of emotion.
The scene changed as Tiamat's visage appeared, precious was his sister. His son Tsukiryuu also flashed before his vision. Jaeden's hand slowly reached out grasping for each one. Feeling the substance of their hands pass through his. Chasing them down pain and agony bearing down on him. Hot like the blistering sun, heat scorching the place around him.
Turning around in this shadow of the room, he saw him. Iriko, the one he failed most outstanding in every capacity he could. "Iriko, your biggest failure by and large. His skeleton and blood are on your hands. Had you been a better leader and stopped the rebellion, or shown some activity in your role. Maybe you'd have done something, inside his actions are yours and in the end, you are the reason for his death and the Gotei's downfall. "
Jaeden's emotion boiled as the angry scorn passed as the guilt began drowning him. His hands falling by his side limp as his emotions poured. Tears streaming down his cheeks. As darkness morphed upon his skin, shadows of the familiar feeling. It felt like his body was tied to the stake, burning from the pain. Now remedy existed, no cure would fix it.
Iriko's actions and blood were on his hands. Jaeden let a scream out that rang out into the night. Drowned out by the rain and thunderstorm booming. His voice going until finally it stopped. His frame remaining still as his addiction to this sorrow. This pain became more and more, Jaeden's addiction was his guilt. Vait's pleasure was Jaeden's endless pain.
Jaeden's eyes rolled back for a moment as he snapped back. His nose and throat hurt from the crying. The tears of his father forgetting his son, the pain of Iriko, and their deaths. They all weighed on Jaeden's shoulders like a mountain. This pain was his to endure. "I can...I can't...I won't..."
Jaeden looked into the mirror in front of him. His reflection looking back at him with no uncertainty. The man within it was a mystery, a shroud of what was perhaps best a shell of the former.
He fought fear for a selfish pain, he knew a crash was going to come. His hand moved up as Jaeden got up without thinking. His eyes transfixed on that figure in the reflection. This insanity, this emotional turmoil. Why was it this man looked so foreign to him?
His hand touched the reflection for his vision to change. The image turning to the man he once knew. But even this was a foreign figure to him. He'd never pass for a perfect leader, nor a perfect son. Not then or now, his eyes looked determined for a moment. Was he not meant to play that part?
Who was himself, who was the person Jaeden saw next to him? Would the real him break his family's heart? Would he disappoint their memories by being himself? Jaeden's reiatsu began bubbling as his eyes glowed. Jaeden's glimmering anger was surprising even to Vait. "Why...Who is this person I see, staring back at me? I don't recognize this man, no...I don't recognize either of you!"
Vait's eyes blinked as he'd never heard the man raise his voice. Let alone release this anger inside him. Jaeden wasn't angry at one thing in the world. "To hell with you, to hell with you both! I don't give a damn anymore, my guilt is not some shackle. Vait, you do not own me or my darkness. You are a piece of me, a person within my being. I am done, done with this entire damn thing! If you think that I will be brought low by guilt, I'll let the Crow CLAN DIE RIGHT HERE!"
Jaeden's hollow aura began bubbling and thriving against the surface. While no mask was present radioactive eyes formed. "I will be me, even if I abandon my name and leave behind every shard. But I won't do that, no Vait. My guilt won't be a shackle, it will be my bond. From here on, the darkness will not consume me but be my constant ally. I am content leaving behind the name Jaeden Crow, he died here in this room. "
Jaeden's tone was serious, as he began crossing the boundary.
Jaeden walked back towards his sword, his expression determined as he felt Ulv's aura pushing him. Motivating him to break down this wall, no to merge with it. To become one with it further. "We aren't two, but one Vait..My guilt died here this night...We are one."
Jaeden said walking into his hollow's form more. Not consuming him but deepening the connection further. Stepping further into his hollow's power.
Feeling it merge further and push into him, Jaeden welcomed it. But didn't submit to it, he molded it and let it flow into him like water. Feeling the power of Vait became more part of him. Almost like wearing his own skin, Jaeden inhaled softly as he felt a relief inside him. His guilt was laid bare in this place.
Everything was feeling like an uncloudy day, but it was too quick to celebrate. He'd remain here and see what more could be. To see what this person he saw now was. To further realize himself and understand that neither of the men before was true to his emotion.
Jaeden's own aura poured outwards, his heart powerful, and feeling strong as a burning inferno resided in him. While those flames may have been black as night, they were still his.