Lightning Flower by Tenaya Jayne
I am Tesla... but I cannot speak my name aloud. Technically, I am only two years old, but inside I am infinite, ageless. I have two loving parents, but I am alone. Like an island in the sea. There is no one else like me. I am totally, uncontested, and damnably unique. My body is the distilled perfection of pain. Even in my mother's womb, before I took my first breath, there was pain. Don't scoff, I remember it.
How can it be that I am the merging of two people, and be so different from them? The poison that entered my mother invaded me. Poison and magic became reactive agents that twisted me before I was born. So, I am screwed up, probably more than anyone else you've ever met. They tell me I'm beautiful, but when I look at my reflection, all I see is the chaos of the tempest of magic inside me. My skin is the paint. I am the portrait of agony.
No one sees what I see. Their eyes only perceive the surface. Even those who can see the layers and use them, my grandfather, my friend Merhl, even they cannot see past the second atmosphere. They don't know about the currents and moods of the dark elements. They have never felt the wind in the dangerous grey of the Everpath. I walk alone through maps of other worlds. Searching for the answer... Hunting the last puzzle piece to make my machine of safety impenetrable.
I carry Regia on my back. If I fail... we all die.