[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Lillis on April 6th, 2010, 5:39 am

Author's NoteThis thread is part character history, part introductory story between Lillis and Caelum. It is otherwise a closed thread.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a semi-graphic description of rape and murder toward the end of Part II. If you would like to know a little more about the family, please visit my character sheet and click on "The De'Nerys Clan" in the second post. Thank you!

Part I: The Journey
Spring 505AV

The Rose Knot made berth in a small port town halfway between Nyak and Sunberth. This town, known by the locals as Linmeadow Wells, boasted an inn, a small but thriving fish market, a meager bazaar, a few farms and residences, and little else. But traveling through this town, as opposed to docking in Nyak, cut considerable time off the trip from Mura to Riverfall – and it would take several months on horseback, of course, to get there from Linmeadow.

The De'Nerys clan had started on the journey a little less than two weeks prior to their arrival in Linmeadow and they were all teeming with eagerness over the prospect of disembarking from the cramped quarters of the chartered vessel. Caelia watched her daughters peering overboard: a long row of blonde heads bobbing; thin, pale arms reaching; delicate fingers pointing; soft voices murmuring. How like their father they all were, she thought, a small smile gracing the curves of her lips. How like a man they would never have the privilege of knowing. Still, it would be good for them all to see their place of origin, to meet their father's family. Still, it would be good to see more of the world than the University of Zeltiva and their own home island.

“Pardon me, mum,” the stocky first-mate said, interrupting her reverie with his stocking cap clutched in both hands, “All's ready to go ashore.”

“Thank you,” came Caelia's reply as she tucked an errant yellow curl behind her ear.

“And, if you'll forgive me – it seems your reputation has preceded you. They've some need of your healing services in Linmeadow. Says you an' your girls can stay a night for free if you take a look at some'a their men.”

A slight flaring of her nostrils was the only physical indication she gave that she would just as soon be on her way, that to stay a night in the port town was an inconvenience. But Caelia smiled, nodded her head and said, “We would be happy to be of service.” This was how it always was whenever she set foot into any small town – understocked and overworked, the poor people of these tiny towns had no proper healing remedies, no one schooled in healing arts, and news of her arrival would spread until she had people coming from the next tiny town and the next just to see her. “But tell them that we will be leaving at first light tomorrow morning.”

* * *

Their mother and eldest sister were still at work with the townspeople when the three younger De'Nerys girls climbed into bed at the Linmeadow Inn. Lillis found herself tucked under the blankets between the twins, each of them curled inward toward her. “Can I not be in the middle?” she asked at length.

“No,” came their response in unison.

“Fine,” she grumbled, and shifted so that her own comfort might make them as uncomfortable as possible. Grinning as they groaned and shifted with her, Lillis curled in toward Sherin, pressing her nose up against her sister's. “Are you excited?” she inquired in a way that betrayed her own excitement. But Sherin was having none of it.

“About what?” she asked sourly.

“About... I dunno. Seeing Riverfall, or meeting someone...?” Lillis focused a pair of pale blue eyes on Sherin's face; for her part, Sherin was trying her best to pretend to be sleepy. “I mean, that's really the whole point of this excursion, right? To find our mates.”

“No. I mean, I guess so.”

“She met someone already,” came Janyce's voice from the other side of the bed.

“Hold your tongue, Janyce,” Sherin said sharply, turning over so that she was facing away from Lillis.

“You should tell her, 'Rin,” Janyce gently murmured. “It's going to be obvious pretty soon.” With that, Janyce turned away as well, and when Lillis looked both to her left and to her right, all she saw was the back of a different platinum blonde head.

“Tell me what?” Lillis rolled toward Sherin, placing a lissome hand on her shoulder. “Tell me what?”

Sherin inhaled deeply, exhaled sharply and turned her face into the pillow, grumbling something inaudible into the down feathers.

“What?” Lillis lifted herself up onto her elbow, her shift sliding down to bear one round shoulder. “I didn't hear --”

“I'm pregnant,” Sherin said clearly. Lillis' eyes went wide as she forced her sister to roll over and face her.

“Does Mama know?” she asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

“No... not yet.” Sherin said, azure eyes glassy and brow furrowed.

“Well,” Lillis breathed, laying her head on her arm, “are you happy about it?” By then, Janyce was leaning over Lillis to peer at her twin, concern discernible in her eyes if not in her expression as a whole.

“I am happy,” Sherin muttered. “Bran – that's the f-father – he's a student at the Temple. And I think I love him. And he's happy, too, and I think we'll probably be married when I come back.”

“With the child,” Lillis added, practically. “We're going to be gone for several years, 'Rin. Does he know that?”

Sherin nodded her head, biting her lower lip. “He knows. He says he'll wait.”

“They always say that,” Janyce shot bitterly, laying down on her back behind Lillis.

“Oh, what do you know? You've never had a mate. Never even had a lover.” Sherin returned the volley in an equally biting tone.

“I've had lovers!” Came the protest in response.

“So have I,” Lillis interjected in the hopes of detracting attention from a brewing argument between twins.

“You have, Lilly?” Jan inquired. “Who?”

“She has not – she's had women in her bed, but never a man.”

“So?” Lillis asked defensively. “That counts. Just ask Isla.”

“That doesn't count for you, Isla prefers women.” This from Sherin, who was trying to make herself as small as possible. “Can we just not talk about this any more?”

“Fine.” Lillis turned her back on Sherin as well that point, to find that Janyce was facing away as well.

“It'll be all right, 'Rin,” Janyce said at length. “It'll be good.”

“Yeah,” Sherin quietly conceded. “Good.”

An easy silence lapsed between the girls as they dreamed, sleeplessly, in their heads. For her part, Lillis was thinking of who she might meet, for she'd seen someone's face in her dreams, someone stunningly beautiful in shades of blue and grey...

* * *

Caelia and her eldest daughter, Isla, were the last to retire and the first to rise, relishing the quiet of a sleeping Inn and a proper morning toilet. They went about the tasks of preparation quietly and diligently, finding satisfaction in their completion. It was barely sun-up in Linmeadow when the De'Nerys girls set out on horseback to the west, toward Cyphrus. Zeltiva, first – then straight to Riverfall.

They rode in long lengths of silence, never more than a dozen feet apart from a member of their family. After a time, Lillis pulled her horse up beside Sherin: “Should you really be riding?” She asked, cocking her head gently to the side.

Sherin scowled, narrowing her eyes at her baby sister. “What am I supposed to do?” She aksed. “Walk?” With a few clicks of her tongue, Sherin rode out of talking distance, up to the front of the line with their mother.

They hardly saw any other travelers on the road that day. In fact, it was nearly dusk by the time they came across the caravan of slaver's pens, seemingly abandoned by the side of the road. Caelia eyed them dubiously: “Let's go off the road a bit, make camp for the night,” she said, veering her mare off the beaten path, weaving with celerity between trees until she disappeared.

Lillis was the last to follow. She could hardly take her eyes off the abandoned pens, feeling their pulse as though they were their own living thing. They gave off a distinctive black aura; they stank of dried blood and human waste. They were large, iron and ominous, and Lillis could not look away.
Image
User avatar
Lillis
Player
 
Posts: 117
Words: 55149
Joined roleplay: March 24th, 2010, 6:49 pm
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Lillis on April 6th, 2010, 5:43 am

Part II: The Slaughter
He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
he opened not his mouth.

-- Isaiah 53:7

She smelled them before she saw them – the acrid stench of excrement, blood and putrefaction. They wore these things like badges of honor, these men, these brutes.

It was mid-morning, and the women had only just finished packing their camp when the slavers descended upon them. Seven men there were, thick and muscled, wearing tattered finery and tarnished jewels; missing teeth and bearing the marks of their indiscretions, they eyed the ladies like a wild dog might eye a sick rabbit. Only one of them spoke, and he spoke with a hint of satisfaction, and not a little hubris. “If it isn't Caelia De'Nerys, prized slut of Sunberth.”

Caelia was cool, relaxed, her hands in her saddlebags as she was thus addressed by the towering, bald-headed man. She canted her head gently to the side but did not turn, regarding him at the far edges of her periphery. “Why, that must be Javed – I'd know that stench anywhere.” She cast a sharp, azure gaze to each of her daughters in turn, and they knew well enough to move slowly and quietly behind her, each one keeping an eye on one or two of the other men.

“Lord Marek will be so thrilled when I bring you back to him. He has so loathed to be without you all these years,” he grinned broadly at her, revealing dark gaps where some of his teeth had rotted out. Caelia had wrapped her deft fingers around the hilts of her Suvai blades, drawing them slowly and purposefully out of her saddlebag. She turned to face the Slaver, then, sharp blue eyes twinkling at the very prospect of running him through with her blade.

“I'm sure Marek has gotten on fine in my absence,” she replied, her tone icy. “He had so many other slaves at his disposal, surely I did not leave him wanting for... company.”

“What pretty blades those are,” Javed commented absently, “Aren't those pretty, boys?” He scoffed, spitting on the dirt at Caelia's feet. “I'll make you a deal, how 'bout? How about you put them pretty blades away, and you and your friends here can keep your lives.”

“Mm, how about... you leave now, and you and your men may keep yours.”

Javed laughed, full bodied and unabashed. “Oh, 'Lia, you beautiful thing. I'm going to like having you again.” He propped his hands up on his hips, adopting a faux-scolding pose and gave a shake of his head. “Now, honestly – what are you doing on this road without an escort? You're practically begging us to take you.”

“Girls, get on your mounts. We're leaving now.” She said as evenly as possible, but her command betrayed the nervousness that bubbled in her blood. Seven men, she thought, noting each of their positions with the utmost care without ever taking her eyes off of Javed. Seven men...

And the girls where frozen, clinging to one another in a trembling clump of blond hair, small bones and wide, blue eyes. The girls themselves did not see the command from Javed to his men – but Caelia did. It was no more than a jerk of his head, abrupt as it was brief, toward Caelia, when one of the men, large, round, and breathless from the effort of transporting such body weight, came forward with both hands out in front of him. He lunged – “Mama!” Came Lillis' perilous cry – and Caelia dodged deftly out of the way in one fluid, dance-like spin that sent her full, yellow curls to spinning around her head like a mane. She sliced him from ear to ear so quickly that Lillis did not know he'd been injured until he dropped to his knees, a cascade of red spilling down the front of him.

Javed narrowed his coal-black eyes at Caelia, no longer amused. “You have deprived me of one of my men.”

“I have bettered my odds.” Caelia was breathing heavily now, the thrill of adrenaline pumping hard through her veins.

“Quite.” Javed looked past her, then, to the girls. That should have been the moment that Caelia made her move – she felt the opportunity come, and go, quick as a lightning flash. He looked back at Caelia and smiled blankly. “Your daughters.”

Caelia said nothing, but stood with her blades at the ready.

“They'll fetch quite a price,” he continued, tugging at his black leather vest as he paced in front of her. “That little one, there,” he gestured vaguely toward Lillis, “might make a nice companion for Marek, should unfortunate circumstances continue to deprive him of the pleasure of your company.”

“I would rather see her dead than in your hands,” Caelia spat acid back at these men, and Lillis looked then away from the men and toward her mother, wondering for the first time in her young life what it was, exactly, that her mother had suffered.

“Well, perhaps we can arrange that.” He bowed his head only slightly and the remaining men began to close in on Caelia De'Nerys and her daughters and panic gripped the mother's heart.

“Run!” She shouted, even as she lunged forward to attack Javed himself.

With a push from one of her sisters, Lillis shot off like a bolt away from the fray. She did not see where her sisters had gone, simply kept watch in front of her, darting between trees and over logs until she could hear the clatter of hooves behind her. She never looked back, not even as the sound of hooves drew nearer, she kept running with the full force of terror, her hair a yellow streak behind her.

Two of the men bore down on her without much difficulty, one of them reaching down to grasp a handful of those flaxen curls and jerk her to a stop. She was lifted by the neck, as though she weighed no more than a snared fox, and thrown over the front of the saddle, the pommel jabbing her in the tummy as they rode back.

One of her pursuers immediately rejoined the group, but the man who had captured her held back, just far enough away so that she could hear the shrieks and cries of her family but could not see them. He dismounted, and as she struggled down herself; he assisted her by throwing her to the ground with such force that it knocked the wind out of her. He did not speak, nor did she, when he tore the dress from her body. He did not speak, nor did she, when he used one hand to curl around her throat and the other to loosen the laces of his breeches. He did not speak, nor did she when he forced himself into her, laying the full weight of his bloated form on top of her. She did not speak; she did not even cry out.

When he was finished, he tossed the remains of her tattered dress at her, and she slipped it over her shoulders, hugging herself tightly. He gripped her upper arm and dragged her along, back to the gruesome party.

When she emerged from the woods, she saw that both Javed and her mother were sprawled lifelessly by the side of the road. Despite his cruelty, it seemed that Javed was the arbiter of order in this band of madmen. Her eldest sister had been sliced from navel to nose, her torso opened as though to sate curiosity. The twins were being used by the other four men – Lillis and her captor were the last of the group.

She could see the colors of these men, feel what they felt as they destroyed her sisters, feel what they felt as they destroyed her. The man with his hand on her arm threw her once more to the ground and took a blade to her, and she could see the hatred, the overwhelming hatred, and she could not understand what she had done to garner such hatred from a perfect stranger. Such perfect hatred from this perfect stranger. “Why do you hate me?” She asked him, her eyes wide and glassy, her body trembling despite her best efforts at staying brave. Her mother had been very brave; she wanted to be brave as well.

Lillis was given no reply, not even a second glance. And she could still see that bubbling hatred, black and murky, the loathing, the abhorrence. And to be hated so profoundly is what finally made her weep.

When he finally sliced into her, it was a great relief. He was cutting the scales off on her left leg, as though she, too, were mere curiosity. The scales were flayed from her muscle, and he looked at them in long strips, finding that they lost their luster when thus disembodied. But when he cut into her, she could not see the hatred, she could not feel the loathing, just the arc of the blade through her skin and the warm feeling of blood as it pooled and ran down her limb.

She was nearly unconscious by the time the other four men turned their attentions to her. The knife was abandoned in favor of positioning her legs so that she might receive them best. All of them. She did not feel it then, despite the completeness of how she was used, she did not feel it. She turned her head and saw the vacant eyes of the twins, of Isla, of her mother, and thought contentedly that she might join them soon. She was almost giddy at the thought that it would all be over in a few moments, and she embraced the blackness that descended with a smiling heart.

But she did not count on waking up.
Last edited by Lillis on April 6th, 2010, 6:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
Image
User avatar
Lillis
Player
 
Posts: 117
Words: 55149
Joined roleplay: March 24th, 2010, 6:49 pm
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Caelum on April 6th, 2010, 6:42 am

Part III: The Discovery
man for judgement must prepare me
spare, oh god, in mercy spare me

- regina spektor.


The wind chased him through the trees. It whipped and whispered through freshly greening leaves still tinged with newborn gold. It clattered skinny branches against each other and flung fists of dust up to beat the day. Bent low over the horse's neck, he was caught in an elegant wild, swerving and curving through spruce and poplar, weeping wisteria and pale, gleaming birch. He ran for the sake of running, he ran fast for the want of flying, knowing that the stars yet wheeled madly above him though in the bright of noon they were invisible to his eyes.

The terror of Nyka was falling away behind him, skinned from him by the wind and trampled beneath Vega's thundering hooves. He would leave it like shed skin on the side of the road, scattered amongst the bracken to be bleached clean as bones beneath the unforgiving sun. He would leave it as he had disembarked Captain Rezar's ship, as he had left the cabin in Talderas, burned the herb garden nestled in the arms of the glade, run ahead of the storms for a year gone, an icarus to the dust of earth returning.

Caught in an interior pocket of his jacket, pressed against his heart, was a thick pile of papers. The rest, the least central, were tucked with equal care snugly in his saddlebags. The ink had bubbled out of his veins, scrawling across pages in a hand that could not decide whether it's penmanship was poor or merely beauty made erratic. It circled and dotted maps of stars, maps of seas, maps of cities and regions and souls too, in the end, recreating an entire universe with an eclectic shorthand that could cast light upon the smallest of details, magnifying into abrupt portent. The curve of seashell. The knot of cypress knees poking up out of amniotic earth. Sigilry sprawled across cities, elixir recipes surrounded crossroads and in the end it was still little more than an incomplete grimoire for the gods.

Many secrets had been stolen in Nyka to flesh out a few corners of these unconventional instructions, scientific notations, blue prints of a mad man's mind. It was all of these things and none of them. He could only hope, clinging with strands of fist and fractured faith, that the beating his psyche had taken in that cursed city had been worth these revelations.

It was the silence that slowed his break neck pace. The forest encompassing had grown muted and the wind which had been running with him, from him or after him only they knew, had even gusted itself warily into nothing. Vega's strong legs lathered slower and slower until he settled himself back into the saddle, a stray patch of sunlight striking upon the elegant curve of an iodized copper horn. It glittered, casting miniature rainbows across scratched bark, crumbled leaves. He frowned, staring down at a fresh depression in the ground, blades of grass crippled and bit into the torn tumult of the soil.

He smelled blood.

A soft hushing sound escaped his lips to settle Vega and, loosing the reins, he swung a leg over the saddle and slid down. Looping the worn leather up so that his Windrunner would not trip, he released her in order to walk forward, following the sound of the rotting silence. A part of brain suggested an animal fight, or a group of large game hunters having passed through the area; but the rest of him knew this to be untrue. There was an ache in the back of his throat, lead lining his stomach and a humming in his ears as though his very blood was trying to sing him a story, to prepare him either for action or for blessed sleep should he prove to be unlucky. The quiet split as he breached the perimeter of the clearing, opening up like decayed fruit as the harsh caw of a crow reverberated against the sky.

It was slow to come into comprehensive focus, the mind throwing up protective barriers in an attempt to preserve an already precious horde of sanity. Awkward, disjointed limbs piled together, opal flesh streaked with carnelian colors. Gossamer hair tangled and matted, flat, empty eyes pointing upwards at the heavens as if in accusation. The jigsaw images imprisoned him for an eternity, stringing his heartbeats along like prayer beads, until as if peering through the lens of a telescope it registered that among the corpses there was one still breathing.

"Mercy," his lips formed the prayer unknowing as he jolted free of the horror's spell. The images, the thick scents and stiff sights, finally spilled together into an cohesive, terrible whole as he crossed the last distance on an earth-eating stride. "Lady," he spoke, sinking down, his words heavily weighed by an accent so exotic that it was not like to ever fade. A short whistle spit the air, signalling Vega to come to him, for his medical supplies were presently tied to her back. "Lady," he repeated and then said the only thing that seemed at all appropriate. "Don't be afraid. I'm going to help you."
User avatar
Caelum
The best way out is through.
 
Posts: 1977
Words: 1095776
Joined roleplay: March 18th, 2010, 10:27 pm
Location: Riverfall
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 12
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (1) Guest Storyteller (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Lore Author (1)
Peer Reviewer (1) Trailblazer (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Lillis on April 7th, 2010, 2:45 am

Part IV: The Awakening

and the things you can't remember tell the things you can't forget
that history puts a saint in every dream

-- tom waits

Sweet oblivion embraced her with the warm, dark arms of a lover and cradled her gently for an expanse of time that stretched onwards toward dusk. It held her there; it gave her visions that she could watch absently and let go; it was repose.

Lady...

So when she was brought to the cold surface of consciousness, she felt nothing at first but the sharp pain up and down her left leg, then the dull, throbbing ache between her legs, the pang of bruising along her rib cage and down her right arm, the subtle stinging in the hinges of her jaw.

Lady... Don't be afraid.

And she remembered. In her memory, these man had no faces, only large, gaping mouths that were full of teeth and need and hunger. Mouths and hands, that's all these men were. Mouths and hands and privates, powerful legs, sinew and fat.

I'm going to help you.

She forced herself to open her eyes and it did not take long until everything came into sharp focus. Her mind was aware before her body – sluggish form that she thought she'd gotten rid of – and a look of panic rose into her eyes before her mouth was able to form the words: “No, Gods above, please don't help me!”

It was another heartbeat, two, three, before she could lift her head from its gruesome resting place. She didn't know how she'd managed to move them all together that way after the slavers had slinked off, their fallen comrades in tow. She didn't know how, but she'd managed nevertheless, and the fallen Konti family were all together, a few keepsakes clutched tight in the survivor's hand.

“Mercy.” Where his had been a prayer, hers was an appeal. “Please....” Never had those eyes been so round, so pleading, so like the sky during a storm. She felt faint and fell back then, the movement cracking the dried blood on her legs and sending fresh eruption of it to drip down and pool by her feet.

It was then that she finally fixed her gaze on the face of her would-be rescuer, and her jaw went slack – never in her life had she seen anything so beautiful. She was transfixed – she relaxed her body entirely even as her panic-stricken eyes began to well with tears: the sun, low in the sky, glowed proudly just behind his head and she felt he must be a sign that her Goddess had not forsaken her. “I hope they saw you, too,” she whispered -- hoped her family had so beautiful a creature to help escort them home.
Image
User avatar
Lillis
Player
 
Posts: 117
Words: 55149
Joined roleplay: March 24th, 2010, 6:49 pm
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Caelum on April 7th, 2010, 3:18 am

Part V: The Healing
if we cannot heal them,
we can see no more get sick

- danny schmidt.



"They did, lady. They did." They saw him, he told her, not so much a lie as it was a reassurance. The gods would forgive him of that, if the gods even cared. Calm infused the smoke of his voice, smoothing out all of the syllabic wisps, as the tension crinkling the corners of golden eyes relaxed by increments, spilling out of his face. The daystar blazed behind him in it's descent and the darkness crawled out of the trees. It never fell from the sky as so many mistook. It shoved up out of the ground, stretching long, green shadows across this scene of slaughter.

For first time since he had landed, broken and embittered, in this world, he made an effort to soothe, to prepare someone else for the coming change. "Lady, don't be alarmed. When the sun disappears, my visage will change. It's still me. I swear it," who, there, was he trying to convince? The grace of a smile winged across his mouth and he reached up, tugging down a saddle bag. It clunked against the battered grass, his medical kit rummaged free of it's weathered confines. Jars and muslin, packets of herbs and glittering instruments spilled into his hands.

"And I've you," he continued to talk, to throw words into the absent wind until they created a comforting rhythm. Deft, calloused hands moved with careful haste to employ antiseptic, to drip out measures of calming, pain blocking herbal concoctions. To bandage. To ease. To heal this girl's body, at least, as much as he was able. He discovered that for once he did not doubt the ability of a soul to heal. He wanted it too badly for this traumatized stranger. The gory scene of her fallen family members faded into the background of his mind, the whole of him focused on the fixing of this one yet living, yet breathing, yet staring at him with crushed, diamond-colored eyes as if he was the only light in the world.

Syna's sun was blessedly slow in it's vanishing, slow enough that he was hesitating at the obvious injuries to her very womanhood. As there was no excessive pulse of blood detectable, he ultimately decided that his tending there could wait. "Don't fret," he continued, pushing back up to his feet to untie the bundle of his cloak from his horse's saddle. It's thick, worn folds were smoothed in his hands as he sank back down, drawing the warmth protectively around his patient. The scent of dusty sunlight, of green things and fresh turned earth wafted up. "Are you still in pain?" He questioned, cradling her shoulders with the curve of his arm, seeking out her eyes. The last light gasped, winking out, and he fought the urge to close his eyes, to tense and shudder as he did most every other day at this point. He talked through it, instead, talked himself and her through it while the curve of his horns twinkled and faded and the embers in hair sighed into bitter bark colors. Black ink dripped, etching the most delicate of windmarks to flare from the edges of his right eye. They grew thicker as they spread over his arms, vanishing into the collar of his jacket and sharp features shifted into the image of the Drykas he had once been.

"If you aren't," he was saying throughout this, "Then I'm going to help us into a better place and see to your family," to their ritual burning or their burial if she preferred. "Then I'll sent up camp and we can eat and Vega here, that's the horse, will stand guard and everything is going to be alright, lady. Don't be afraid."

Last edited by Caelum on April 8th, 2010, 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Caelum
The best way out is through.
 
Posts: 1977
Words: 1095776
Joined roleplay: March 18th, 2010, 10:27 pm
Location: Riverfall
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 12
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (1) Guest Storyteller (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Lore Author (1)
Peer Reviewer (1) Trailblazer (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Lillis on April 7th, 2010, 7:43 pm

Part VI: The Vision

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

-- Sylvia Plath


Her skin -- deprived as it was of so much blood -- was cool, blue-tinged and translucent. But when his fingertips brushed against her in an absent gesture of comfort, it burned like a spray of embers from a spitting fire. The Seer arched her back and let out an abbreviated shriek; her eyes shot open, wide and searching, but were the iridescent milk-white of the blind.

What she saw when the rest of the waking world fell away was the face of her rescuer, licked on either side by hungry flames. It was no gentle thing, this fire -- she could smell the putrid scent of burning hair and flesh, could see the pain of it wrenching in the depths of those soul-weary eyes. She could hear the erratic pulse of his labored breathing as he turned away and was suddenly, impossibly, high, high above her head. She could taste ash in her mouth, feel her skin cooling and her heart sinking into the pit of her stomach as he shot across the night sky like a falling star. The blaze was brief but glorious, and after it faded, she was plunged into a silence so complete that she couldn't be sure she had not permanently lost her hearing.

But sound was the first thing to penetrate -- she could hear his voice, though she could not entirely make out the words -- then her vision cleared and the pain came back, stinging and fierce. She could feel him applying salves and bandages, could smell the herbal concoctions, earthy and sweet, and this time when she lifted her head, she did not feel so faint.

"You died," she murmured on the wings of an exhale, "You... fell and you died." She canted her head gently to one side, regarding him quizzically, thrust suddenly into utter confusion: what was it that she'd seen? She braced her hands behind her on the limbs of fallen sisters and sat upright, conscious of the remedies he'd applied that had begun to take effect. "You died," she muttered again, dizzy in her stalled attempt to understand her vision. "You died, and I'm breathing -- I'm awake." And then, lucidly, "I can move."

She turned her head to look behind her and beheld the sight of the slaughter with unaffected eyes. She clutched the foraged keepsakes in her tiny fist and said, "They should be buried by the sea."

When he was ready, she let him move her. When he reached out to touch her, she jeered away as though struck by an electric shock, but when no vision came, she eased into his embrace and let him help her to her feet. Surprised to find that she could walk, she moved with a limping gait, favoring her tightly bandaged left leg. It was only when she was upright that she became aware of her modesty, and clutched the tattered remains of her dress tightly around her battered form; she may have even had the presence of mind to blush.

And he was the thing that was anchoring her to the earth -- this new form that boasted ink-splash designs came into focus more clearly than his other form, the form of a creature she thought had been sent to take her to the underworld by a loving and gracious Goddess. And she was clinging to him fiercely, terrified that he was a vision, and might vanish. Terrified that he was real and would not stay.
Image
User avatar
Lillis
Player
 
Posts: 117
Words: 55149
Joined roleplay: March 24th, 2010, 6:49 pm
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Caelum on April 8th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Part VII: The Burial
Sling me under the sea.
Pack me down in the salt and wet.
No farmer's plow shall touch my bones.
No Hamlet hold my jaws and speak
How jokes are gone and empty is my mouth.
Long, green-eyed scavengers shall pick my eyes,
Purple fish play hide-and-seek,
And I shall be song of thunder, crash of sea,
Down on the floors of salt and wet.
Sling me . . . under the sea.

- Carl Sandburg; Bones.



You died. You . . . fell and you died. The girl's words swirled through his mind, causing him to stare at her with stricken eyes for a few, clamoring heartbeats. Memory hit him like a fist, punching the air out of his lungs, feeling the ghost waters off the shore of Black Rock shattering beneath him as lightning walked the day. It vanished in the next breath and he murmured something soft, something consoling before easing her down onto a blanket from his bedroll he spread over thick grass in the moonlight. It was near the broad base of a sentinel tree that colored the air with clean tastes.

"I'll find a way to bury them with the sea," he promised her, not at all certain it was a promise he could keep. There was no way they could carry these broken, beautiful bodies across so many yawning miles to the closest seashore. They would have to be buried here, as they had died here, and he would somehow have to make it by the sea. He felt driven to do whatever it was he could, the shock of agony in her eyes having needled it's way inside of him, permeating the tall, defensive walls surrounding his soul. Distantly, he recognized that he, too, was in a kind of shock, that of echoing adrenaline and horror's aftermath. It propelled him forward.

A soft, green-smelling shirt was dug from his saddlebags along with a pair of ancient breeches that boasted, at least, of a drawstring. These items plus his cloak were laid on the blanket in front of her, eyes that were now dark, the sun swallowed by shadow to linger only in a ring about his pupils, sought hers. Pitching his voice into maintenance of a physician's capable calm, he told her, "These are for you if you want them. I'm going to set up tent and take care of your family. Drink this if you can, eh?" A coaxing smile, bright beneath the moon, and he tucked a water bag at her feet before unraveling to his own.

Camp required set up before he dealt with the fallen. His mind settled into the drone of labor, blessedly, as he unsaddled Vega and unloaded his tent equipment. The rhythmic stroke of the brush he used to dust the windrunner down came with the beat of his heart, a familiar task as the horse whickered softly in the night. Feed bag, water. Soft words that earned him a dove gray nuzzle before he hobbled the mare so she would not roam. He pitched the tent next, his subconsciousness hungrily drinking in the small elements of satisfaction gained from constructing even so small a thing, from building, from making rather than killing and breaking. A shelter, then, against the world with a small campfire created nearby with twigs and fallen branches to blaze against the starlit dim like a hearth fire. A tin kettle of water was set to boil while he unraveled his bedroll inside of the tent, striving to make as comfortable as nest as he could. The healer in him had him reaching for his medical kit yet again, digging up bits of calamint and chamomile to sprinkle lightly amongst the blankets in an attempt to conjure some level of peace. His solitary cup was used to pour the tea into, calming and clear with a hint of honey, something that would blend comfortably with the drugs for pain and against infection he had already dosed the girl with. The mug was pressed into her hands along with a leftover bit of bread and cheese and he lingered for a moment, eying her carefully, before rising to at last turn to the most terrible task at hand.

The place he chose was in the middle of the clearing where during daylight hours Syna's warmth would pour most strongly down upon them. For all of the bitterness and agony in him for his Bright Lady, it was Her to whom he turned in this dark hour. Syna for her warmth, for her light in the dark night. To Caiyha, too, to make verdant this sacrifice wrought in the midst of her wild glory. Finally, to Rak'keli, the reasons his orisons turned to her painfully obvious as he shoved his shovel deep into the earth and began to dig.

It was hard labor, grave digging, straining his muscles until they burned and gathering sweat to drip down his brow. He had the presence of mind to remove his shirt before beginning to the dirty task, and whipcord lean muscles slid beneath the swirling ink and darkened skin. The grave -- for he had decided on one, a mass grave for the four fallen Konti, together in death as they had so died -- needed to be deep to prevent the ravishing of wild animals and hours were marked by the passage of the stars, the night sinking into song of cricket and whistle of an owl's flight. When the hole was finally judged to be deep enough, he leaned heavily on the shovel and gazed across the clearing at the survivor, pale and bright as a neon moth. He realized he did not know her name. A gulp of air was taken and he gathered up the bodies. One by one he cradled a cold corpse in his arms, against his heart, and laid them deep into the earth, rearranging limbs and cleaning blood and dirt from the empty, ethereal cast of their faces. Mother and daughters were settled together, snuggled into the bed of soil as if sleeping, hands twined and hair spilling. When his own hand passed over the quiet swell of one of their stomach's, the bulge of an unborn child who, now, would never know the light, he swallowed thick and hard. A few damnable tears escaped anyway, splattering upon the dead.

They should be buried by the sea.

Earlier, he had promised this would be done. He had not known then how, exactly, and maybe that had not truly mattered at the time. It did now, however, as he pitched the shovel into the earth beside the open grave before stalking wearily across the clearing once more. Without a word, he began digging through his saddlebags yet again, and when he found what he was looking for he held it up to the starlight pinched between filthy fingers. It was a starfish. It was rough to the touch with all of it's spiraling, surface designs and the color of a bloody twilight. Nel, the Konti pirate who had dragged him from the ocean nearly two years gone had gifted it to him the day he had departed The Bright-Eyed Mariner.

"Look," he turned towards his patient, the survivor, displaying the starfish in his palm. "They're going to be buried with the sea, lady."

The starfish was ultimately tucked into an arrangement of the dead's piled hands, cupped against the mother's breast and vanishing like a shooting star in slow motion as shovel full after shovel full of earth was tossed into the grave.



User avatar
Caelum
The best way out is through.
 
Posts: 1977
Words: 1095776
Joined roleplay: March 18th, 2010, 10:27 pm
Location: Riverfall
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 12
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (1) Guest Storyteller (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Lore Author (1)
Peer Reviewer (1) Trailblazer (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)

[Flashback] The Seven Slavers

Postby Dusk on April 9th, 2010, 7:50 pm

XP Award!


Image


Lillis

XP Award
Running: 1 XP
Auristics: 1 XP

Lore Award
Surviving Sexual Assault
Surviving Torture
Ethaefel Shifting
Ethaefel Falling

Additional Note
Well, that's an image I won't soon get out of my head. :P A truly gorgeous scene, even as dark as it is. Most of the scene was either internalized or things done to Lillis so I'm a little light on the Skill awards, but I doubt that will be a problem in the future so don't worry about that.

Just as a side note, you should add your Gnosis to your character sheet under the Skills/Lores portion; I assumed she had the mark of Avalis and not Rak'keli, but it should be noted in the CS.


Caelum

XP Award
Riding: 1 XP
Medicine: 1 XP
Persuasion: 1 XP
Horsemanship: 1 XP
Empathy: 1 XP

Lore Award
Comforting Victims
Grave-Digging

Additional Note
This is by far one of my favorite scenes with Caelum. It was great seeing him so emotionally invested, especially since he hadn't expected it! Beautifully written, well done!


PLEASE NOTE: Finals are over, but summer is eating my soul. As such, as of the end of June I will not be accepting any new quests/modded threads until I finish some of the ones I've already started/agreed to. My apologies for this, but I don't want to be unfair to those who have been waiting for replies!


Image
Dusk's Office - Information on Syliras - Help Desk
User avatar
Dusk
DS: Syliras and Wildlands
 
Posts: 952
Words: 341561
Joined roleplay: April 6th, 2010, 5:33 pm
Race: Staff account
Office
Scrapbook
Medals: 7
Featured Contributor (1) Trailblazer (1)
Donor (1) Power Fork (2)
Trash Medal (1) Thunderspork (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests