You float, content, without knowing the rhyme or reason for the darkness that surrounds you. You drift, you think, for there is the sensation of movement for some time, even if you can’t actually see it happening. The featureless black extends forever around you, so dark your mind begins strobing colors across your vision in an attempt to remind yourself you still actually have sight.
There is plenty of time to think in this place, though you have little to think on - you seem divorced from your emotions in truth, the feelingless automaton you remember being once again your defense against the incomprehensible terror of this place.
They come for you after an age, or was it a breath? Their voices are soft, a croon of darkest malicious intent that crawls in through your ears and festers inside your head. You would struggle, but it’s useless here.
You were safe from them, weren’t you?
You can’t remember. That seems so long ago now, your grip on reality slipping even as their insidious whispering plucks at your nerves like a puppet-masters fingers over a marionette.
But you were alive, weren’t you? You fight to free your thoughts from thier thorny grip, focusing every ounce of yourself down on that one memory. You escaped them, you know it, know it beyond any chance of their tampering. The darkness around you is rent open with a sound not unlike a world dying, and the Noble Circle flees from you as quickly (or, perhaps, knowing the nature of the place, as slowly) as they came.
Your first breath is a searing agony that threatens to carve you open like a knife. It booms through your body, forcing you out of the peaceful darkness and into a world of icy water and not enough air to breath. You choke on the mouthful of dirty river water and kick in a direction you pray is down. Your feet hit something hard and then there’s light and air so sweet it hurts to gulp it down.
You tread water blindly while you choke and cough out the lungful of water, vision swimming too much to see the streaks of inky black that comes with it.
You wake up again on the bank of the river, thankfully face up - though that does nothing to help the skull-splitting headache you’re sporting. You do your best to ignore it as you struggle first to your hands and knees and then your feet. The world refuses to stop swaying, but you keep your balance well enough to stagger in the direction of the city lights.
And yet, your memories are blank between the time of meeting with Roy (if you could call it a meeting) and now - you have no idea how long you’ve been gone. You feel like lead has settled into your bones, weariness of an eternity with Them clad around you like an armor.
All you want to do is to sink into the merciful darkness of unconsciousness.
Instead, you keep walking.
You’ve always been stubborn.