Breaking Vanity

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Pav
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:21 pm

Breaking Vanity

Post by Pav » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:48 pm

The waves broke against the cliff as crashing porcelain.

The young woman had tears streaming down her cheeks while she sobbed without control, her feet dangling over the edge while she sat there. The ruby-tipped staff she carried everywhere lay in the short, scruffy grass behind her, haphazardly discarded from her grip just moments earlier. She has yet to process what happened - it was over too quickly. Her hand held at her stomach, and she felt the sickness born of grief. She had to recount what she had seen.

...Sandstone walls and dim lights - no, no, that could not have been it. They flickered in her mind as toying mirages, distorting in and out. The solar of an estate, the brightness of the glass encased candelabras, an opulence only known to the Sembian elite - it broke again. Her mind shot back to the sandstone walls and the dim lights, forced into seeing the truth.

Amidst the dimness, stands a man. He smiled at her - for what reason? His blue eyes told of fear and worry and grief. White hair - no, blonde hair. Blonde hair and brown eyes... She took a deep breath and steadied herself, the vision still racing through her mind.

She saw her father in the darkness, dim lights briefly washing over his face. He looks at her coldly, in his regal suit, blonde hair and beard cropped and brown eyes narrowed in disgust. He viewed her as a rat, a shame, a liability that only he could bring to right. She could not speak against him, move, or tear her gaze away from the image of what she had been fleeing from - but he shattered to a thousand pieces in front of her. The shadows moved and flickered again, distorted, and she turned back to the truth.

The white-haired, blue-eyed man still smiled at her as he snapped his fingers to bring her back to him. His fear and worry and grief are her fault, and this brought her pain. He was familiar, but not; known in the moment, but lost to time. He reached into his pocket, and took out a flower... a desert bloom. The rarest beauty that shone in the most unlikely places. Realization, as its scent reached her, and the shadows parted away. There was nothing there anymore.

"Think. Swallow. Then think more."

"...
Swallow?"

"Yes." The wildling started pacing away, turning her back to the human she shared a small, gold-flecked marble with. "Be good."

The young woman rolled the marble for a few moments in her hands, confused but intrigued. The wild elf was a mystery, a menace, someone she did not understand nor assumed to ever even partly grasp. There was so much that was alien about her, so much that was surreal - but there was familiarity. She shouted after her, reassuring, "I will be!".

There was nothing there anymore. The tears stopped their cascade, and the pain dulled. The shadows dissipated from her mind's eye, but so did the smiling man. Sandstone walls shifted out to an open field and a summer night's clear sky, and dim candlelight was replaced by the dull glory of the full moon and stars above her head. Lying in the grass, her gaze turned to the aether and with a chill breeze stroking her cheeks, Vera Leuvaarden could only smell the desert bloom.

User avatar
Pav
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:21 pm

Breaking Vanity

Post by Pav » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:52 am

Feverish, whispered prayers carried themselves on the sharp mountain wind.

She knelt in prayer by the perfectly carved marble altar, wet grass lapping against her boots and trousers. Her hands were clasped tightly against the wooden shaft of her Heartwarder's staff, the ruby at its end dim as a dying candle in the rain, and soaked as she was - she did not dare to stop her hushed litany. She must ask for forgiveness. Lightning struck overhead.

The port of Cordor opened up ahead, the sea breeze fluttering their cloaks lightly. The dimness of the rising sun on eastern horizon barely came into view, and she looked to her counterpart. A woman she'd not known very well, but one that felt as if she was there for her lifetime. She was weakened; afflicted, and barely standing on her own two legs. There was despair and agony more entrenched than the physical, emboldened by the grief of a thousand years.

"I made peace with it all. He hasn't."
"You should not squander life. It is a gift."
"A debt is owed. Let's go collect its due." Waves broke against the docks.

She was running, suddenly, up a flight of endless spherical stairs, hugging a palantir close to her stomach. It was a prize, one without measure and was the culmination of the last two years. Behind her, the thud of equally endless metal boots, the clamor of an infinite resounding swords, was egging her to go on. The light of Selune suddenly washed over her, as she reached the tip of the keep's tower, and the wind borne by the elevation fluttered her hair and cape. Her features were distorted - she did not feel the same woman she is, but a girl, one with scars, a crooked nose, round sunken eyes, and mousey yellow hair that frayed further with the gale of the high skies. The footfalls kept growing closer, but soon she ran out of options... a step, and a leap with a prayer to the Lord of Shadows and Lady of the Wind, down to the waters of the river below. Her ears bled, and she fell in a curled-up tumble, before a sharp pain in her spine sent her slack, and into the void, where only explosions of fire sounded off in the distance.

Padded footfalls of a motley procession echoed in the dark and grim halls. She looked down to the cracked bricks that paved the way, her peripheral vision receiving what she did not wish to look upon. She was in the Heart of the Darkness, a place that was unimaginable to her as a temple of worship. It was for a good reason, she convinced herself as the abjurative circles were set up. A life was about to be saved... a life that seemingly did not wish to be. She slammed her staff to the ground and began her calling, her askance of her Lady to tear a rift through the aether in this dark place she came to... to help her amidst the rot and pain. She kept all her will focused on her one task, but in her mind's eye, it was she that writhed in the circle - she whose very essence of existence was being changed. A thunderous crack to the staff's ruby locus.

She felt her skin stretch and tighten. Her nose breaking this way and the other a thousand times, before suddenly setting straight. Flesh filling out where once there was none, limbs lengthening and shortening until they were just right. Her cheekbones and forehead cracking until her eyes were set just as desired. Her spine burning up for hours, until it was again aligned and whole. A searing light flashed through her eyes, and in it she saw the meaning of it all. A second life.

With all the effort spent, with such high magics called to bear, she could not help but wonder why they, and She, forgot her left leg.

She could not help but wonder if a broken body made whole meant the same for its soul.

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