Chapter Two: A Brief History of Nothing

      My family, I have not seen in ages.  After my father was whisked away by death, I had no immediate family left and was sent to stay with distant relations in the older region of Esradis that lays across a deep blue sea.  When I was old enough to choose, I decided to come back here again, to my home in New Esradis, a tiny island bordered by water and an expanse of lonely lands.  The old estate of my family.
     Here, in this cruel tomb called home I look out the mosaic windows onto another world.  On the south I am surrounded by the blue lakes of Serrania; the east leads to a path of snow-capped mountains spoken of often but seldom seen by any living creature; the solemn Correadinn plains to the west are dry and dusty; and finally, the north, full of wet woodlands and mountainous region — I have heard it meets up with the paths of Correadinn to become one. A world of ice and snow.
     At night I wander hallways, haunted by shadows in a grim wasteland of birch, stone, mortar . . . I sleep fitfully here, if hardly at all. Since everyone has died I have not ever been myself.  Depressive spirits, trap me in a fog of nothingness.  I was not always so, but it seems our family always had a predisposition to this unusual melancholia; hardly difficult to encourage or assuage.
     My life, as I noted, was not always bleak; once, the house was redolent and alive.  At times I attempt to recreate the once-known bliss . . . I sit at the harpsichord, a Rigaudon at my fingertips, or a Pavane, but as I do, as I follow through, the spirits wake . . .
      I have told you about the portrait of my ancestor, Lynoria.  She looks down coolly at me.  Often I hear her voice.  Do I imagine such things?  What does she say?
     The servants used to tell stories that they saw her, often wandering the halls aimlessly.  It was said she had a tragic life, having drowned at sea.  A portrait of her graces the hall, as well as a peculiar part of the castle that leads to nowhere . . . it is an Odalisque . . . I do not know who painted her, but the picture both enthralls and terrifies me. Lynoria . . . lying supine on scarlet silks, her eyes wild, with that green tint and pale face like snow. (Her eyes like mine.)  Often they are almost black, pond-like, dark hazel . . . but, according to mood, even the weather, they can turn from black to a seemingly glowing gaze of almost phosphorescent jade — even now, the portrait seems alive.
     And, like such opalescent treasures, Lynoria’s life seemed both blessed and cursed with them.  Her husband, a rich man, was also a cruel one.  He was well-known for such cruelty with his wife, and on the ships.  A wealthy merchant he was, and soon absconded to the rude and violent life of a brigand and pirate after taking to the ale for much too long.  They said he went mad.
     As for others in my bloodline, well, they are just as well-known; for notoriety, no, we are hardly anything at all like that; except for Lynoria and the scoundrel she married, the d’Ravnosil are a relatively quiet and reserved old family. yet, something holds us back.  Something always made others wary of us. Perhaps it was the streak of gloom, dark as raven’s wing, that overshadowed us.  Well, whatever it was, it would end with me now, for I was the last of my family, as far as I knew . . .
     And as far as I do know, that is it . . . a brief history of nothing. I’ve nothing to learn or to know, and the halls are always empty.

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