The Pull

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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The Pull

Postby Ayatah on January 25th, 2016, 8:40 am

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82nd Winter, 515AV

With Kuame at school, Ayatah had expected her nerves to settle. If the boy was not around her, nothing could harm him. It was a logical assumption, and yet still the half-breed found herself jittery, anxious. She wandered about her home aimlessly which, given the relatively modest size of the apartment, did not take long. She avoided any of the two mirrors that adorned her walls, particularly the large one in the hallway. Each time she passed it, Aya would dip down, on her hands and knees with her face turned away, as if something terrible was watching her from the mirror. Or worse: if she was the only inhabitant of that mirrored world.

“This is ridiculous.” She muttered for what must have been the hundredth time that morning. She shook her head, her left hand following the movement as she continued to gnaw and chew on her thumb nail. It was a dirty habit that Ayatah had only developed in the past few days. Anxiety had a habit of adding things to a person as much as it took away. Scared of leaving the house? Gnaw on your own skin! Don’t like to be alone? Suffer terrible anxiety-induced flatulence that will make your loneliness all the more likely!

Thankfully, only the former related to Ayatah’s current state.

She began her pacing again, still chewing on her now raw thumb, shaking her head and muttering tiny little prayers to whoever would listen. When she came to the hallway, Ayatah fell to the ground, preparing once again for the humiliating crawl past her own mirror. She could get rid of the offensive item, of course. But then Kuame would start to ask questions, and she was struggling already to act normal around the poor lad. If Aya started to to get red of random furnishings, he would worry for her. He was already so sensitive and naturally cautious.

She scurried past the mirror, stood up again and continued on her (un)merry way. Her bedroom was dark and stale smelling thanks to Aya’s new habit to keep all windows safely locked tight. Was she keeping something out, or keeping something in? Ayatah didn’t know, and as her mind began to wander towards this question, she shook her head more viciously. “No. No. Not there. Don’t go there.” She ordered herself, begging that her own mind would, just once, abide by her own instruction.

Refusing to think about the weirdness that had struck her life was only part of the challenge, though. Soon enough Aya began questioning her own mind: what am I doing? I’m going insane! I need help. There was always the Psyche’s Sanctum, where she had visited once before and, to be fair to the counsellors, had helped her. But no: this was not a psychological problem. Or at least, the strangeness was not originally such a matter. Now, of course, her psyche was torn into pieces. Not only was Ayatah a nervous wreck but she was withdrawing into herself, pulling away from those who she loved and the things she enjoyed doing. She hadn’t drank any wine for a long time, and hunting was utterly out of the question. Even her work was suffering.

Ayatah gasped and fell into the nearby wall. There it was! That tearing sensation, something pulling away from something else and fighting against being held together. Though it wasn’t painful, it certainly felt… strange. It made the woman think of her miscarriage, how her almost pureblooded Myrian baby had been torn from her womb during the djed storm four years ago. Closing her eyes, Ayatah made herself breathe slowly. She dipped her head down, trying to keep these - what? stomach pains? nerve spasms? - under control in the only way she knew how. But meditation was out of the question. Something within Ayatah was fighting against her. Was it the instinct to survive?
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Last edited by Ayatah on January 25th, 2016, 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ayatah
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The Pull

Postby Ayatah on January 25th, 2016, 8:53 am

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She hurried to the chamber pot, expecting to vomit. But she hardly made it out of her bedroom. Another wave of tugging made Ayatah come to a stop beside the dreaded mirror, and without thinking she turned to her reflection, to inspect herself from any sign of physical illness. Had she paled? Was her skin clammy?

But no.

No.

Because the woman who faced Ayatah was not like her at all. Though physically, yes, woman and reflection were identical, her mirrored counterparts’ whole demeanour was different. Her lips ere curved into a vicious snarl and her eyes were darkened with — disgust? hate?

Ayatah fell to the floor. Gods be damned, there was no controlling her breathing now. She was sobbing now, haunted by her own insanity and confused mind. Now she was hallucinating! She couldn’t look after Kuame like this. He would need to be taken from her, to stay with a friend for a short while until his mother got herself back under control.

Lying on the floor, Aya curled up into herself, head against her chest and arms covering her eyes. She didn’t want to see the world anymore. She wanted to hide until someone could explain what in the Hai was happening to her. None of it made sense, but worse: it was terrifying. Why her? Why now?

The tearing within her reached it’s terrifying peak, where Ayatah whimpered and gasped not in pain, but in horror. Then, finally, it was calmed. She blissfully felt nothing. Normality had returned. She raised her head, the abused dog seeking her master’s love and hate once again. Until the next episode, she would be fine.

“Filthy, weak little deyhan.”

The voice was so quiet, Ayatah initially assumed it was some damaged part of her own mind whispering to her. After all, a woman who saw things would no doubt hear things as well. Was this what life would be like for her now - mirrors that aren’t mirrors and voices abusing her? What a life to live.

She was still on the floor, crouched down and brushing the dust off her knees. “I need help.” She murmured, her tone irritated and exhausted all at once. No, what she needed was to sleep. Sleep would help. Nothing bad happened when she slept or, if it did, at least she wouldn’t know about it for a few bells.

But something hard struck her on the back of the head. Ayatah fell back to the floor, sprawled out and seeing stars. “Should have drowned you at birth.” The voice said, louder now and certainly not coming from within herself. Ayatah, the air knocked out of her lungs and the confidence out of herself, touched the back of her head. There was no blood, but already the skin was tender and inflamed. “Filthy, weak little deyhan.”

She remained flattened on the floor, too scared to move. Whatever was happening to her, or had been happening this past season, this was new. This was new and more terrifying than the mirrors, or the voice. Now something was harming her! Was this how she would die, beaten up by some split-off part of her own mind? Was she doing this to herself in the way suicidal individuals string themselves up or slash at their own neck?

“Stand up.” She was told, but when Ayatah did not move, something collided with her left leg. The voice - it was so familiar! - ordered yet again, “stand up!!”
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Ayatah
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The Pull

Postby Ayatah on January 25th, 2016, 9:30 am

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She needed a plan. Ayatah was less than ten steps to her front door, but it was locked. Her escape would be slow unless she did something to injure or delay her attacker. If there even is an attack, she corrected herself bitterly.

On the count of three, Ayatah turned onto her back and wildly kicked her legs, hoping to Myri that she would collide with something. When she felt nothing but air, Aya finally opened one eye.

What she saw standing above her was more terrifying than seeing nothing. Because, peering down at her with a gaze filled with both disdain and amusement, was herself. Though had avoided mirrors for the past few days, Ayatah still recognised her own eyes, lips and hair. This woman was identical to her, and yet there was something… different. The air about this woman was entirely changed. Not fractured and insane, as Aya suspected she appeared right now, but strong and resilient. And angry.

Oh, she was pissed.

“I said stand up!” The woman - Ayatah - spoke to her in furious Myrian. The language was like honey to Aya’s ears. How long had it been since she heard another person speak the mother tongue fluently? She could almost smell the jungle and taste the humid air on her tongue.

And with this familiarity, something else happened. Aya felt a swell of irritation with this woman, this other self, who apparently thought she could order her around like a child. Replacing her anxiety and fear with mild annoyance, Ayatah stood up and replied tartly, “A please wouldn’t go amiss.”

The woman extended her right arm out, clocking Ayatah along the side of her head like a scolding parent. “Filthy little deyhan! Why do you choose to live here, in this barbarian city when we should be home with our clan? Do you remember our clan? Quinneth? Bennik? Our mother?” Her tone was poison, venom spat out into the air in the hope that Ayatah would inhale and choke on it.

She was taken aback by this anger. Ayatah blinked, silenced by her own fury. Frowning, she peered at the woman before her and asked “What are you?” It seemed the most important question to ask at the time, nerves and confusion be damned.

Aya watched as her other self waved a dismissive hand. “Are you stupid? Who do I look like?”

“Well, me.”

“So who do you think I am?”

Gods, I’m insufferable!

“I would say me, but that doesn’t make sense. I’m me.”

Her other self gave an exasperated sigh and turned away sharply, stalking into the living room like a tiger on heat. Ayatah followed, a her dark eyes glued to her other body to ensure no damage would be done to her furniture. “You think you’re the only one? Pah!” The woman, now sitting uncomfortably on one of Ayatah’s leather chairs, gave an unamused and irritated little laugh. “You think you’re so good, you cannot be improved on? Stupid little deyhan. And why do you sit on such ridiculous things? What’s wrong with a wooden bench like at home?”

“No lumbar support.” Ayatah replied absently, her mind too distracted by the woman fidgeting on her furniture to care about the criticism. “Where did you come from?”

“Nowhere.” The woman replied with casual finality.
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Ayatah
The Scholarly Savage
 
Posts: 737
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Joined roleplay: December 27th, 2012, 11:30 am
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The Pull

Postby Ayatah on January 25th, 2016, 9:30 am

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Ayatah sat down, numbly amused and confused as to what was happening. She felt equal parts relieved and horrified: at least she wasn’t going crazy. Riverfall was a city currently haunted by strange powers, but until now Aya hadn’t considered that what was happening in her life to count under this label. Waking up to see one’s home trashed - or cleaned or decorated - wasn’t a power per se, but indicative of a stalker.

But now, sitting across the room from a woman who looked exactly like herself, Ayatah smiled. This was her power! Of course! Everything clicked into place and something within Aya rolled it’s eyes and said ‘well, duh!’

“What’s the name of the boy I first kissed?”

“Tutwa.”

“Whose bone makes the hilt of my dagger?”

“Zenti. Quinneth’s mother.”

So far, so good. The other woman - the other Aya - had answered all of Ayatah’s questions immediately and perfectly. They clearly shared some of the same memories as Aya had never shared either of those pieces of information with anyone out of Taloba. Even a master stalker could not have known such things.

“What is Bennik’s wife called?”

“Uh…” Ayatah frowned. Myri! Her cousin had only married five years ago… “Tisha!” Said eventually said victoriously.

Ayatah’s duplicate was unamused. She leant forward, leaning her elbows on her knees and fixed Aya with a stern gaze. “How did we celebrate Riita’s tenth birthday?”

The memory alluded Ayatah completely. After calculating what year her half-sister would have turned ten, she pursed her lips and tried to recall the celebration. But there had been so many during her life in Taloba that they merged into one jumble of music and dancing and fires.

A half-chime passed.

“Urgh! You see? You have let this barbarian world confuse you. You cannot even remember your sister’s birthday.” The woman scolded, revulsion stinging each of her words. Ayatah glared at her, but the accusation was true.

“Fine. You tell me then.” She challenged confidently.

The woman answered without a single pause: “we took her fishing to the Kandukta and taught her to swim. She was like a fish, she loved the water so much. Afterwards, we let her try her first sip of wine, to toast to her health. And then we went hunting. She made her first kill, a—”

“-sloth.” Ayatah finished. The memory came flooding back to her, images of her sister taking to the water better than Ayatah could have ever done so herself. Riita wincing as she tried wine, pulling a face as the bitterness ran down her throat and made her eyes water. They had laughed together, relaxing in the shallows of the basin whilst Ayatah batted away flies and other airborne pests. And then, yes, they had taken a stroll through the jungle, coming across a sloth on the way back home. She could remember Riita staring at the animal and saying “I want to hunt it. I want to make my first kill today.” And she had done so, with her own shortbow. It had taken only four arrows until the animal was dead, and even then Riita said the prayer to Caiyha as any hunter would. Ayatah remembered how proud she had been, and envious as well. Her little sister, the model Myrian. “I’d forgotten all about that.” She admitted glumly.

“No you hadn’t.” Her other self retorted flatly and without a hint of pity or empathy, “I remember it all. You have just denied it. Ever since you came to this Barbarian world, you have denied and ignored our roots. You laugh and drink barbarian drinks with barbarian friends and talk about the heat of the jungle and how you miss the warmth. you never talk about your family, your sister. You’re humiliated.”

“I am not.” But her answer was too quick, too defensive, to be the truth. Of course she was unwilling to share tidbits of her jungle life: her people were hated outside of Taloba. What wa regarded as a meaningful tradition by the Myrians was seen as bloodthirsty and inhumane by a mild citizen of Riverfall
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Ayatah
The Scholarly Savage
 
Posts: 737
Words: 667148
Joined roleplay: December 27th, 2012, 11:30 am
Location: Riverfall
Race: Mixed blood
Character sheet
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