New Rourke Unmasked
The Diary of Noor
Displaced Nocturne | Living Reflections | Mutants & Mysteries

The man who made me what I am, whom I called master, sire, father, as the situation demanded, taught me many things. He taught me how to test the world, how to find my limitations and exceed them, how to find what was true rather than see what seemed evident, when to push and when to reassess. I both admired and honored him for those lessons. But the lesson hardest learned, and several times beaten into me, was that I was not special. Special is something one works towards rather than comes from. While who I had been was an important influence on why I had been chosen, it no longer had baring on what I had become.

I was now his student, and I had to be useful.

The lessons were not always academic, although each started with theory. Deprivation and pain were the most often employed teaching aids. Encouragement came in the form of acknowledgment that a course had been completed to satisfaction, never to be repeated. I learned so much of the world, mysteries that few knew of. Under my master’s tutelage, I became stronger to the point where my ability to survive was no longer in doubt. Through sacrifice and discipline, I had been elevated above the chattel; no longer would I be prey to the monsters that stalked the unprepared.

Then everything started to come undone. My master was taken from the world by his own hand, as were the few I could rely on. I was accorded proper standing, but I knew my status as a pariah was growing. It would have only been a matter of time before someone gathered the resources to eliminate me.

I made a deal with a demon. I completed its tasks and made my request, “I want to be someone else.” I thought I was prepared for the outcome, but then I found myself in a different world. I thought I understood why the demon laughed. Now, I’ve learned the joke.

Peligro, for all his unmerciful calculations, is someone I can deal with. He is not unlike the man who was my master, except here he stands nearly unopposed. He works in secret building towards his goal, but the people he chooses to employ are repellant. It is a collection of madmen that he has managed to wrangle through cunning manipulation. The worst, in my eyes, however is Leila Nejem.

Leila is a barely rational, narcissistic, freak. She is a sadist who revels in violence and whatever chaos she is sanctioned to ensue. We have only met once, but it is clear already that she hates me simply because I was not so easily swayed by her attempts to unnerve me. My mask and demeanor withheld the fact that for the first time, in a very long time, I was terrified.

Leila Nejem is a nightmare. More specifically she is my nightmare, because she is me. The voice, the face, and the name are all things I left behind. I keep finding myself wondering if I was really like that before I was remade. How much of her is in me? How much of that creature is simply the result of the different paths our lives took? Either way, I am frightened, because now I know what could have been without the guiding hand of discipline and focused direction.

I now understand why the demon laughed. In a way the joke is funny. Here, in this world, I truly am someone else.

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