Egaeus is my name. My family - I will not name it - is one of the oldest in the land. We have lived here, inside the walls of this great house, for many hundreds of years. I sometimes walk through its silent rooms. Each one is richly decorated, by the hands of only the finest workmen. But my favourite has always been the library. It is here, among books, that I have always spent most of my time.
My mother died in the library; I was born here. Yes, the world heard my first cries here; and these walls, the books that stand along them are among the first things I can remember in my life.
I was born here in this room, but my life did not begin here. I know I lived another life before the one I am living now. I can remember another time, like a dream without shape or body: a world of eyes, sweet sad sounds and silent shadows. I woke up from that long night, my eyes opened, and I saw the light of day again - here in this room full of thoughts and dreams.
As a child, I spent my days reading in this library, and my young days dreaming here. The years passed, I grew up without noticing it, and soon I found that I was no longer young. I was already in the middle of my life, and I was still living here in the house of my fathers.
I almost never left the house, and I left the library less and less. And so, slowly, the real world - life in the world outside these walls - began to seem like a dream to me. The wild ideas, the dreams inside my head were my real world. They were my whole life.
Berenice and I were cousins. She and I grew up together here in this house. But we grew so differently. I was the weak one, so often sick, always lost in my dark and heavy thoughts. She was the strong, healthy one, always so full of life, always shining like a bright new sun. She ran over the hills under the great blue sky while I studied in the library. I lived inside the walls of my mind, fighting with the most difficult and painful ideas. She walked quickly and happily through life, never thinking of the shadows around her. I watched our young years flying away on the silent wings of time. Berenice never thought of tomorrow. She lived only for the day.