IC: Venedico (Docks, Ga-Koro)
Envy. Four little letters that had changed his life.
It was not a chosen name, a moniker he had picked out for himself, but still the name had stuck like glue to Venedico Verde: each Daedra had slowly stopped using the customary nickname "Dico" and started using it - save Sloth, who at least had some shred of respect for his wishes, and Pride who never really said anything at all to anyone besides that journal of hers - in place of any name that Venedico would have preferred. Eventually, Envy became his calling card of choice, the name Dico lost to the sands of time and left to drown there until it was naught but wrinkles and a facet of a memory.
As the weeks had whittled down to days, and the days to hours, of Ga-Koro's gilded age post-Nokama, Envy had acquired an odd sense of clarity, foresight, some would call it, into the future of the glorified beach resort Ketan's assortment of sinners had called their home. A sand castle would only stand so long before the tides began to lap away at it, a three-legged table could only hold so much leverage, and like any handicapped structure, any charade, if one had taken care enough to examine the foundations of the world around them, they would have seen the truth of the Toa Arete. The people of Ga-Koro, however, were known romantics: so enamored were they with the group of godsends, hand-delivered by the Great Spirit to serve their fair Verona, that they never stopped to even take a second out of their lives to assume that perhaps they were being misled.
Envy, the Daedra most known for his kindness and sociability with the people of Ga-Koro, had been asked to play some music for a special celebration of Nokama's impending return. Out of sheer coincidence, he had once heard Pride vocally maneuvering her way through a series of songs when she thought she was out of earshot of another soul, and he had invited the Toa of Gravity to come with him and perform, perhaps grab dinner with him afterwards ("Honestly, Pride, what's wrong with a little team bonding?") but no cigar, so Envy had come alone, armed only with a guitar and his smile, that smile with the ivory sheen practically emblazoned into the hearts and minds of the people of the village, to contribute his own personal, final brushstroke to the Daedra's masterpiece, that ugly painting laid down with oily charm, paper-thin deceit, and the slightest bit of blood by seven of the blackest artists of a generation where white was nowhere to be found.
His playing was gentle, soothing, a massage for the ears and souls of the beleaguered Ga-Korans who had been so long bereft of a savior; as they watched their sad Messiah play, solitary yet reachable with just the barest stretch of a tendon and the fortitude of heart to brush hands with an in-the-flesh god. It was the kind of feeling any musician would recognize, had they played long enough and deeply enough so that the very fabric of life, woven together with the purest of emotion. Every note plucked on a guitar, every quick change in octave that shouldn't have been possible, but was anyway, was a silent plea to Ga-Koro to understand him, accept his pain as he had accepted theirs, and so they did.
This was the way to win a people: appeal to the soul's brightest flares of morality, appeal to beauty, and you would win a man's soul. That was why the Daedra had succeeded, where so many, even the Makuta, had failed. Envy understood that, understood the fabric, and he let it hang around him like a shawl as he played. Musicians, like Envy, knew this feeling, but it's one they wouldn't be able to explain as adeptly enough so as others could understand it correctly. If they could, however, they would probably make it sound like this:
Beauty, supreme. Suddenly, you're not in a Ga-Koro market surrounded by a people who have their hopes and dreams and aspirations pinned on you. No one is watching. You're in your own little zone, a landscape thousands know the name of but no one knows the sight of, any landscape you want to be in. You could be at a beach. You could be on a mountain, thin air, snowcapped peaks, watching the world spin around you as you sit, a diagonal, immobile and beautiful standing atop something just as immobile and beautiful as you. Do you want to play to the jungle? Go ahead. It will accept you. Anything will accept you. You're not a handsome musician who's just a little washed up, a little bit shaken up like a carbonated drink by how rough the world really is. You're a strand in the fabric, rough on your own, but smooth, seamless, when you fit into a niche.
You close your eyes, and you become everything: every particle of your being stretches out into the music, consummating with the sound waves and stretching out into others. You frolic in their heads, rest there until they take you into their hearts, accept you as their savior. You'll stop resting after a while and then stand up, drag the cross you've been carrying inside your chest all your life out into the open, and you and the people will become one together. You'll stand tall and firm, bleed yourself out, and then together you will be reborn, and you will be clean. As frets fly and chords soar through the air like birds reveling in newfound freedom, the world will cease being such a cold, dead place, and as you hit a crescendo, everything goes white, blends together, and for a single second, the briefest spasm of breath from the cosmos, the smallest roll of Father Time's dice, you are no longer afraid to die.
Open your eyes again, and take a deep breath of the most gorgeous sea air you ever did sniff, feel the salty oxygen slide into one nostril, then the other. Feel them hold their surroundings, get to know their bearings, and then they drop just as quick as they climbed, out into the village again, like the music itself. Picture mail in a chute, sliding up. Down. Always headed towards a destination it's not meant to know or understand, much like you yourself. Then you blink again. Again. Time blends into a slipstream, all is right with the world, then it ends.
The song ceases suddenly, and you start to wonder to yourself as consciousness returns if your fingers and voice did all of that without any real capability of thought or direction of synapse. Once again, you're Dico. No, you're Envy. Second best, always, second best. The first loser. No matter what you do, that's your niche in life. No matter what you lay claim to, there's more out there, there will always be more out there, and someone else will already have it. You will die, alone, with a room full of second-rate possessions while everyone else parties away with their pretty little toys and their pretty little boyfriends and girlfriends.
Is it an inferiority complex if you really are inferior?
Then, to quell the thoughts, because you can feel your chest caving in like a dying mine, and your breath catching in your throat and choking you, because you can feel the sting of tears just as salty as the sea air but nowhere near as sweet in your eyes, you start playing another song, and the feelings start anew.