Solo A Succor for Sorrow

We all have to let go sometime, especially when we don't want to.

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:03 am

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81st day of Fall, 518 AV


He came to a stop before the pavilion entrance, gingerly shifting the weight of the satchel upon his shoulder for the hundredth time that morning. There was movement inside, he could sense it. Soft singing. The sound of laughter. The smell of incense and sweat and cheese, freshly churned from milk. Elias paused, hand hesitating before the tent’s flamboyantly decorated flap.

This place was so different from the rest of the camp, yet so deftly similar as well. The outpost upon the lakeshore always attracted many to its fringes, and upon its fringes those seeking Ravok’s succor often remained, either unable or unwilling to go any further. So it seemed had been the case for these Drykas wanderers who’d arrived upon the southern shore not too long ago. For nearly weeks now they had set up camp just outside of the outpost’s reach, sitting idle and calm in its shadow like they belonged there just as the outpost sat in Ravok’s. They bartered, they traded, they did all the things foreigners did when they came to this city not interested in its promise of salvation, but most importantly they kept their peace, and so the Stryfe had kept their distance.

Until today.

Until Elias.

The sorcerer always had his ears open, and he'd asked around, done his preparations... but most times, he got a "they" when he asked for details. A man, a woman, a crone, and a "they.” What they were like was a little thin on the ground, unless you were a fellow horse lord like those who now eyed him warily as they passed him outside the tent. Unfortunately, Elias didn’t exactly have the ink or the bow legged stance to go about fooling anyone into believing he belonged here.

Then again, he was an observant man. Rolling eyes, pursed lips, and indignant huffs told him a lot. Apparently the Moonshadow’s pavilion were not known for their winning personalities.

Yes, and you're such a charmer yourself.

He clutched his bag tight and steeled himself, pushing his way into the tent without another thought. The time for hesitation was over.

"Greetings to you."

Not that he didn't make the effort, of course. He spoke his ‘Pavi’ as they called it, slow and precise, even made what he hoped was the proper hand gesture when the three folk in the room turned to face him. The young woman situated by the smoldering fire seemed to pin him first, eyes sharp and cold. The man steeped in shadow and tattoos near the back was even colder, but only due to disinterest; he looked away almost immediately, doodling in some notebook resting upon his lap. The old woman... Elias thought, based solely on first impressions, that he liked her best.

"Well I’ll be damned.” She said, wizened finger tapping the right side of her face. "That must've been a bad one, lad. Sorry to see it... long as you didn't have it coming, of course."

Elias wasn't one for discussing, sharing, talking about or even referencing his scars, but she reminded him of... someone else. Someone gone, not too long ago now. The world as he knew it had one rule for the elderly: if you survived long enough to be called that, you were either tough as Isurian metal, smart as a Sunberth fox, or both. Either way, he had to respect it.

"I often do." He said, this time in common having now exhausted the extent of his foreign language skills. The room was made fuzzy by the burning incense as he stepped further inside, and his eyes stung as a result, but the closer he got, the more the hole in the top of the pavilion cleared things up.

"Are you the one they call Mother Masala? I seek her… assistance."

"It'll cost ya," the other girl said, quick and sharp as a striking snake. "If you want balms or tinctures, it has its price. If you want lessons, you got to pay for those too. We're not a charity, northman." Beautiful as an ebony sculpture, ruthless as the king who'd buy it. That was how Elias quickly summarized Shiara. The young Drykas sorceress crossed her arms over her tight chest and cocked an eyebrow. "Now, if you haven't got coin, we want-"

"'We'? Who're you calling 'we'?"

All eyes went to the old woman, glaring up at the younger generation. Elias thought for a moment he should intervene, maybe butter up the girl by favoring her words over the crone's, but... no. Better to sit back and let them go at it. Always better that way.

"Masala, don't start in front-"

"[i]Grandmother[/i]! I am your damned Grandmother, gods rend and bugger me, and not some mute old biddy you can tell to shut up whenever you feel like it!"

There was a titanic struggle in miniature, played out before their eyes. Through incense smoke and glare of Syna’s rays pouring through the top of the tent, they could see a collection of blankets and shawls rise and fall away, as if discarded by a petulant, grumbling caterpillar. What was revealed was not beautiful nor winged, though, but instead an old woman in all her cantankerous indignation.

"Grandmother, please-"

"Oh, go back to your books, girl," Masala Moonshadow shuffled forward without a bent back or a cane to aid her. She was older than Bessy, if Elias had to guess, but life in Endrykas or wherever else it was that fate had carried her had apparently done her well. "I'll talk to the lad, keep him out of your hair. Not going to kick him out just because he wants to flap his jaw a little.

"I appreciate-"

"And you-" Common words, fluent but heavily accented, flung out at him along with a warning finger from more than a foot below his height. "Speak your own tongue. I know you're trying to get us all amenable with that Pavi of course, but you're bloody mangling it. Not like you’ve hadn’t had enough time to be practicing with all the snooping and slithering you’ve been doing around here lately, brother"

Ah… to the point then.

The others stirred, that last word’s emphasis apparently meaning enough to them to incite as much confusion as it did interest. Well it was true, Elias and this woman did indeed shared a bond despite being complete strangers. There was no point in denying it. “I try and keep tabs on all the Silakrovs in Ravok.” He replied flatly, his demure and polite tone blemished by the directness of his posture.

Tough broad, this one. He definitely liked her. Despite what she said, he knew asking around the encampment on how to speak their language was for the best. People liked that kind of thing. Showed deference, respect, even if the one mimicking their ways truly meant neither.

She leaned closer to the girl and gave a wink that was utterly out of place on such wizened features. “Oh, I understand completely,” Masala responded with a rattling croak that might have been interpreted as a chuckle, “I get an unbearable itch in my ass every time one of these two wander out of my sight for more than ten minutes.” She said gesturing to her two grandchildren, who immediately and bashfully went back to pretending they weren’t listening. “Strange though isn’t it. It seems the further north we travel, the less of Viratas’s chosen I seem to run across.

Mayhap the lord of heritage is not a fan of our cold weather up here.” Elias posited with a straight face. It was enough to elicit a giggle from the old woman.

Maybe,” She laughed, “Maybe, but not you it seems. I’ve sensed you watching for a while now, young man, and I know you’ve been asking around about us, and neither rain nor sleet has been enough to dissuade your inquiry thus far. Now either you just were desperate to get a peek at old granny Masala’s naughty bits,

Grandmother!

Or, you were waiting until day, because you knew today was our last before we packed up camp and started makin’ our way west again.

Her next gesture was one made in courtesy, allowing Elias a seat across the fire from her. The soldier accepted, taking off his coat and gave her a short bow, injecting some genuine Ravokian sneer into his smile that made it a real smirk. He figured he'd be just the lady to appreciate that.

Even now, he could sense the strength of her bond with the blood god. It was strong… stronger than his.

He’d come to the right place.


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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:08 am

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How did you first come to know about us, mr…

Elias. Elias Caldera. I am one of this city’s defenders. It is my business to know all who pass near its sacred waters. That, and you were mentioned in my father’s notes.

Your father?” Masala leaned in, curious and cautious all in one.

Mayhap you remember him despite the six years since he mentioned you in his journal.” Elias explained, pulling free the little red book Torian had ‘bequeathed’ to him after his demise. “It mentions your caravan coming through, and that he’d gone to meet you specifically after hearing of your abilities concerning ‘bloodlines,’ though it does not expound upon what that means, nor the results of your meeting. His name was Torian. Torian Caldera.

Masala raised a dismissive hand and waved it almost apologetically at the pale mage. “Names are useless to me. Most folk come here seeking cures for their ailments as much as they do the anonymity that comes along with it. No one much cares to share their real names with us when their busy buying ointments for their blistering gonads or paying for a spell that will make their one true love fall head over heels for them with but a wave of a scroll. But…” She interjected herself, “Few come searching for my secrets of the blood though. He was like you I take it? A warrior? Stern, gruff-

A cunt of a man without compare.” The Ravokian finished curtly.

Yah, that rings a bell.” Masala shot back. “I remember that one.

Now it was Elias’s turn to show his interest. He’d come as respectfully and as patiently as he could bare, and it seemed that his tactics had paid off. Perhaps with even faster results than if he’d come barging in, sword flailing and eyes afire with fury as was his want to do in most cases.

I’m an aurist,” Masala began, confessing yet another of her arcane talents with such bemused indifference it was hard to tell if she was making a joke or not. “It means I can see things others cannot. Things that ties us together, that forge a bond that can be traced even through the blood. My connection to the crimson king helped me refine this sense, and after a good long while, I figured out how to see the little threads that families and bloodlines share. Your father, your ‘Torian’ wanted to know how. Paid good money for it too, despite the fact that I told him freely. He wanted to make sure I stayed quiet, especially I think, once he realized using that sword he was carrying around wasn’t going to work on a priestess with as many years under my belt as mine.

That sounded like Torian. A petcher to the end, even in memory. Though why would he come calling to this foreigner for such knowledge? The arcane wasn’t his father’s forte, even despite his Paladin obligations to assert himself into the arts. What about deciphering a bloodline could have gotten him so riled up to humble himself before this ancient old crone like-

I know I said six years ago, but could it be that I was mistaken, or the journal was. Did you speak this man before the summer of 509, perchance?” Elias blurted abruptly. Masala simply shook her head in response.

No,” she croaked confidently, “This was a winter, I’m sure of it. Cold as a witch’s tit if I recall. You tend to put those in perspective these days with Morwen… doing whatever the petch Morwen’s doing lately. That, and it was not long after the storm.

Mention of the djed storm left the scarred solider uneasy, and it showed in his face. There was a sigh of surrender as much as there was frustration however. On one hand, this was not the means in which Torian finally discovered his brother’s duplicitous affair with his wife and the subsequent birth of a son that was not his. If anything, that was the only reason Elias could fathom the bastard needing to know such things; to confirm his suspicions and justify his evils. If this was all said and done after the storms however, then Caiden was already dead, Elias and Raina fled, and Torian alone with his grief and his madness.

Petch him. He thought, as he so often did when memories of Torian wormed their way unwelcomed into his mind.

I… understand.” He said.

Hesitation. Ambivalence. There was a question to be asked, but no voice to ask it. Baby steps, he told himself. We’ll get there.

I’m told you’re a healer and a teacher.

Tis true.” Masala said with no small hint of pride. “Mehrunes back there is a natural born genius when it comes to mixing herbs and brewing potions, when he’s not busy trying to disappear into the shadows with his drawings. And Shiara, well she has a talent for magic like her mother, but not quite as good as her mother’s mother mind you. She could show you a thing or two if you’re willing to stomach her company for the duration.” The old woman laughed, much to the dismay of her granddaughter. Elias cleared his throat, trying to hide his restlessness and uncertainty behind a single façade of impatience.

I’m also told you can mend flesh just as easily as you can mend the mind.” He spoke intently, eying the ancient, dark skinned southerner with specific scrutiny. “That you can enter a person’s thoughts and soothe the pain therein. That you’re a hypnotist.

Masala shifted in her seat upon the floor, droopy, heavily lidded eyes unflinching at the accusation. “Aye, its true.” She said without missing a beat. “It’s not exactly a term I’m all too fond of given the negative connotations associated, but yes, I can help those with memories and traumas that leave them troubled beyond more than what just a few drinks at the tavern can fix. Is there something in your head that your heart can’t make peace with, son?

There is.” Elias breathed. “A memory I can’t shake. A memory of… my mother.

I see, and what do you hope I can do for you?” The old matron asked gently.

I want you to help me forget the day she died.


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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:09 am

Image

The tent was stifling now, and it wasn’t just the smoggy atmosphere brought about by the incense, but a certain dark and somber tenseness that was just as palpable.

I see.” The Drykas croaked. She motioned over her shoulder for something, and a tick later a mountain of muscle stirred in the darkness. Mehrunes rose from his seat, a veritable giant that had all but gone unnoticed within the shadows, and moved over to a basin nearby. He retrieved a pair of simple cups, filled them, and presented both to mother Masala without saying a word. Elias eyed the man warily, noting how his dark tattoos shifted and swayed with each step, how his gaze seemed skittish and almost childlike. His wariness came to an abrupt end as the old woman reached out and offered him one of the cups. It was tea. Hot. Welcomed.

My expertise doesn’t dwell with destroying a memory, but more coming to terms with it all. Understanding the horror, quelling it, making peace with it so that it no longer has any hold over its bearer. I’m afraid the misconceptions of hypnotism are rampant and often unchecked. I can’t make you forget, Elias, much as I try.

The Caldera looked to his satchel, placing a hand upon it as if just to affirm to himself that it was still near. “I didn’t take you for a liar, madam Masala.” The stryfer whispered coldly.

Masala’s feathers were promptly rustled by the cold statement. “I am a lot of things, and I can do a lot of things. Could make you eat this tent as easily as I could make you leave it, but no matter how strong I am, making you forget completely is simply outside my purview. That’s just not how hypnotism works, son

She said with no hint of reservation, even as she stared Elias down just as coldly. “Now, I am a lot of things, and I can do a lot of things. Could make you eat this tent as easily as I could make you leave it, but no matter how strong I am, making you forget completely is simply outside my purview. That’s just not how hypnotism works, son

Granny?” Mehrunes said quizzically, looking to an equally perplexed Shiara for answers.

Masala shifted uncomfortably. “Now, I am a lot of things, and I can do a lot of things. Could make you eat this tent as easily as I could make you leave it, but no matter how strong I am, making you forget completely is simply outside my purview. That’s just not how hypnotism… wait, what the petch was I saying? Oh, you cheeky little shit!” Masala smiled, slapping her knee as the realization dawned on her.

I know exactly how the art works, madam. You don’t need to sell me a pitch.” Elias grumbled, cutting off his link of djed to the old woman’s unprepared mind. Masala may have indeed been a powerful magician, as testament to her radiant aura, but she was in the company of an equally brilliant star, one who didn’t have time for games like this.

If you can use the wyrd as I do, what need of you of my services. Find yourself a mirror lad, it’ll be-

You don’t think I’ve petching tried?!” Elias snapped, nearly raising to his feet as the outburst surged through him. “You don’t think I’ve done everything I can to get her face out of my head? Six years I’ve been-” The swordsman froze, realizing he’d been shouting, screaming even, and all at an old woman while her two kin looked on. He sighed, cupping his face and dropping himself back down in his uncomfortable seat upon the mats. For her part, Masala hadn’t seemed at all upset by the unexpected eruption, which for some reason made Elias feel all the greater a fool.

I don’t dream.” The stryfer mumbled after a moment of collecting himself. “Not really. Not anymore. What I have when I close my eyes is a series of nightmares. Three in total. They come and go as they please, sometimes in order, sometimes not at all but they’re always the same.” He was talking to floor now, hand still cupping his beaded brow. “One is of a man I killed. He was dear to me, dearer than any other, and his death was a meaningless one.

A breath. A pause. A moment’s respite from the horrors of the past. The guilt and the same and pain he all deserved.

With a breath, Elias continued. “The second is of a creature I fought in the mountains. A monster that in all my years I’ve never the likes of before, and pray I never will again…The last nightmare however, is reserved for the worst…

How do I put to words one of the darkest moments of my life?

Its day the storms struck and the world was sundered in two. The day she died saving my miserable life… the day Viratas marked me.

There was silence for a long time, and truth be told, he welcomed it. He never spoke of this. To anyone! The bitterness and bile it brought to his throat, the ache it did to his heart, Elias not to remember what his sins had wrought upon his family, yet those sins defined him as much as his magic or his faith did. To deny them was to deny what he was at his core. It was exhausting, hopeless and some days simply too much to handle. That was why he was here, with this strange woman from distant lands wielding strange and distant magics. It was why he had chosen the last day of her caravan’s stay before approaching her. Like Torian, Elias had secret he needed to keep, but unlike his false father, he refused to be devoured by them. This was a chance to finally put an end to the torment. To rid himself of the burden that for too long now weighed him down and made him doubt. If he could not come to terms with his failures, then he would erase them entirely.

When he finally came too from his somber reverie, the pale sorcerer realized Mehrunes and Shiara had left the tent, no doubt dismissed by their matron. She was looking at him now, he noticed, and not with any sense of mirth tightening her sagging skin or humor brightening her dark eyes, but with a seriousness that almost startled.

I can’t promise you anything, lad.” She said after a while.

This is Ravok, mam. Promises don’t mean much here anyhow.

…Give me your hands and we’ll begin.


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Last edited by Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:11 am

Image

He couldn't hear the screaming anymore.

He supposed he should have been thankful for that, but he couldn't feel the deck swaying under his feet either. Not the harsh rain against his skin, nor the stinging wounds across his flesh. He knew he should have felt the blade in his belly at least, felt it twist, felt it sink in deeper, but that too was lost to him. He had to admit, that one he was genuinely grateful for. He was just... surprised this was how it ended. It was so disconnected and muddled. It didn't feel right, not at all how he had expected. Elias would have wanted more out of death, but now that it was here, he couldn't even muster up a chuckle at his own naivety. He was just... numb.

It was as if he was watching himself through another's sleepy eyes. He wasn't sure what else he could do. So he watched with a disinterest that belied the fear he should have felt. He watched as his body crumpled to the floor, as his mother dropped down beside the broken, bloody heap and wailed into his shoulder, desperate to shake him awake. She hadn't deserved to watch her boy die, not like this. His hazy view flickered down and he noticed his own hands curling and flexing for a moment, moving to clutch at the wound. The bastard had left the blade in him. A pang of anger in the dull darkness. He had been aiming to kill her, kill his mother! Elias wasn't going to just let that happen, no matter what. He had stepped in front of the blade and now... and now this.

He had expected more.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Focus, boy.

Came a voice from the precipice, and all of a sudden he felt himself falling back into reality.

He gasped with a start, eyes darting open, surveying the room, picking out targets, finding escape routes, his training kicking in as it had been taught to him. He reached for a sword hilt that was not there, and for a moment, panic overtook him. It wasn’t until a pair of shaking, calloused hands took his cheeks did his fretting come to an end. “Masala?” he whispered, and the world started to take shape around him.

He was back in the tent, back where he started.

Elias sighed as the old woman sitting across frim released her strangely comforting hold. “Lord above, boy. Its like you’ve never used your talent before. I won’t force you, you know, its too much damn work on my end. You have to guide me to your memories by choice… wait… you have used your gift before, right?

Suddenly Elias were everywhere but the old woman’s. “I mean… I uh…

You gotta be kidding me.

What! Its weird!” He snapped.

Its been six years since you said you were blessed. Not once in that time have you used your god given talent?

Its disgusting, and its… its…

Yah, its gross.” Masala fired back, “its blood, it gets everywhere, it stains everything, and once upon a time it use to fire outa my nethers once a month like a petching faucet. You get over it, lad.

I’ve spilled my fair share of blood before, old woman.” Elias growled. “I just refuse to lap it off my victims like I’m some jungle born Myrian savage!

She eyed him stubbornly. “…and you came to me for help? Are you sure were marked by the same god?” She said with an exasperated guffaw.

The two sat cross-legged, knee to knee against one another, as close as two people could be really. Elias had no misgivings about the proximity -even if the smell of mesquite and horsehair coming off of her was an overpowering slap in the face every time he took a misbegotten breath through his nose- but as he looked down at his hands and saw the blood trickling from his palms, a tinge of uncertainty began to rear its ugly head again. Perhaps a slight reprieve… something to take his mind of his mind.

What you did earlier, with the res. How did you manage that?

Mmm,” Masala hummed from behind her cup as she took another sip of her tea. “You mean with the blood. I saw the way you looked at that. You’ve seen it before I take it?” As she spoke, res began to seap from her fingers and slowly, non threateningly slithered unto his own hands. Blood was needed for one marked by Viratas to look into their memories. You had to ingest it to see what they once saw, which is what made Masala -with her hypnotic abilities to draw out those memories- such a an excellent choice to heal the wounds that plagued the mind. Or at least that’s what he’d convinced himself of to get here. He mused as he watched the djed find its way unto his open palms. They’d used his old reimancy initiation scars to get the vitae they needed. It seemed arbitrary to add any more marks to his skin with the blade when he had so many already.

I’ve done it before.” He answered honestly as the trickle of res began to mingle and convulse against his blood. “It was a desperate moment though, life and death. I’ve struggled to excise as much control as I did then. Its become… frustrating.” He mumbled as he watched the red liquid begin to dance and swirl across his pale fingers.

Masala was apparently not much of a reimancer by her own admittance, but the way she manipulated the blood proved otherwise. She’d used her ability to move and bend it like one would water to form intricate and shimmering latticework designs across his hands and fingers before eventually teasing a small trickle from his palm and into her mouth. To say that when he beheld such a thing he’d been disconcerted would have been an understatement. Yet, despite the oddity of it all, it was actually incredibly decent and tolerable given that the alternative was for the old hag to latch what was left of her withering molars unto his wrist and slurp up his juices, the way their god intended. For that at least, he was grateful for. Why the old witch insisted on rolling her eyes in the back of her head while she did it however, was beyond him, but it may have easily been the worst part of the whole ordeal.

Well I suppose I’ve been able to do this now for a long time.” The Drykas matron replied as she idly toyed with the crisscrossing streams of red. “As a healer, you figure out plenty quick how wet and gushy we all are on the inside. There’s a lot of water inside all of us, and I don’t just mean what you drink and leak out later either. The body is a nasty wet sack of blood, and once I realized that my gift from the big red man upstairs helped me move it around just like water, it was easy to grasp the rest.

Elias ‘hmmm’d’ intently. “So its special then, something only a Silakrov with reimancy can accomplish?” He asked curiously.

Maybe, maybe not.” Masala replied rather unhelpfully. “Can’t say I have many answers on the matter, but all I know is that I treat like any reimancer would water. It flows and moves just like water, all you need do is remember not to waste it like water.

For a few ticks they sat there, Elias contemplating what the old mage had told him while they watched the tiny rivers of blood twirl and flow upon his palm.

I did it once.” Elias said, breaking the silence. “The memories, I mean. I drank the blood of another and stole their past once before. It was vile and it was repugnant and it wasn’t nearly worth the social awkwardness that followed, but I know how its done. I’ll guide you there myself, you need not fret.

Good.” Masala grunted as the blood sport ended abruptly. “because our deal still stands; I wont take your memories from you until I know for certain that it’s the only way to spare you their pain. To decide that I have to see everything, you have to paint me the picture of it all and only then can I know if your mother’s tragedy is beyond remedy up here.” She said sternly, poking him in the forehead with a gnarled branch of a finger.

I’m ready. Let’s go again.” Elias breathed. He held his hands out once more, prepared as he’d ever be. This time though, he made certain to close his eyes to spare him the white eyed imagery that would follow.


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Last edited by Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:11 am

Image

"What do you mean? Who found us?" He asked, the irritation in his voice growing more plain. He hated when she got all stoic and serious, it turned her into an annoying mute. His mother continued to pack, ignoring him as she shoved clothes into the rucksack. By the time she had moved on to the daggers she kept under the dinner table he had grown impatient. "Mom, just stop and explain it to me. Did you get in trouble?" His mind raced first to the fact that someone might have noticed her chaon mark. It was on her back though, and she was always careful to keep it covered. Hell, they weren't even allowed to mention the one who marked her anymore. She moved onto the kitchen, knocking over a chair as she did so. Elias ran after her, guffawing at her utter lack of response. Did she think he couldn't handle it?

He grabbed her arm and she froze, her breath coming to her as if she had been holding it up until that point. The wedge of cheese she held in her hand had turned to mush between her vice like grip. It was enough to shift Elias's concern to a genuine tinge of fear. "Who has found us?"

"Your father."

A vexed groaned and a roll of his eyes as he stepped away. "Not this again, ma." He sighed. She whirled on him, scorn building in her eyes. "Elias, I have never lied to you. Not once. What I have said about the man is the truth, I swore it in my letter and I swore it again when you came here. Your father's men are here, they found me. They tried to follow me home. We have to leav-"

"Is it not enough that I am here!" He screamed at her suddenly, the fury boiling out of him without control. She flinched back, shocked silent by his outburst. "Is it not enough I gave up everything I had to come be at your side! Now you must take even my father from me? You and your paranoia, you... you persist in twisting him into some kind of monster. Into justifying what you've done to this..." he hesitated as he saw the anguish seep into her features. She looked older now, smaller even, as if the years had done more just nip away at her. His mother was not a woman who cried, ever, and while now was no different, he saw something painful welling up inside her. "...I'm sick of it." He said, his voice lowering into a hoarse whisper. "I'm sick of this place. I'm sick of pretending we live in a world where this is alright. I can't keep looking over my shoulder for knives that will never come. I can't keep living a life I never wanted..."

He sighed, folding his face into his hands as he fell into a chair. For a long moment there was only silence. He wanted it to just stay like that for a while, nothing but the darkness in his palms and the sound of the waves to occupy his worries. He felt a hand on his knee and knew it would never be so. Another hand gently pulled apart his own to reveal his mother kneeling in front of him, an expression on her face he had not seen in a long while. I don't want your pity... He moaned inwardly. "Do you know how long I prayed to Rhysol for a son?" He turned away dismissively, but she caught his chin and pulled him back. "A strong, healthy son? When I finally, finally had you, I swore that I would do everything, everything I could to take care of my only boy. I've never lied to you, Elias, not once. I am not lying to you now, so listen to me when I tell you its not safe anymore.

We have to leave, son.

Please."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Is this where we need to be?” Came a familiar voice from somewhere in the distance. This time, Elias did not let it overwhelm him.

Yes.” Was his response, though his tone was hollow, his tenor alien. It was like answering with another man’s tongue. It was unnerving, but that too he pushed aside. This was no time to lose himself. He was the guide, he had to push on.

You said you needed all of it. This is where it started.

You seem agitated here. More so than you’re letting on. Your keeping something from her.” A statement, not a question. Masala was good.

You can go ahead and say it.” Elias sighed. “I was a petulant shyke who deserved his hide tanned.

On the contrary, you seemed to be growing through a great deal for one so young. Why weren’t you as concerned about your father’s men as your mother was though?

I was.

But you-

I was playing a part.” He barked bitterly. “I was quite the little actor back in the day. Always making the right faces or saying the right words to keep her believing… You remember the man I spoke of in my nightmares, the one that I killed? The one that I cared for? She cared him for too, perhaps even more than I did… I never did tell her the truth. I had lost so much when Caiden died, I was afraid that if i revealed my part in his murder, that if I told her that I had done it and why, that not even a mother’s love could stem the tide of hatred she’d have every right to feel for me… I gave that woman no peace, no lasting sentiment of relief from her burdens. Her job was prying the truth from those that would see it hidden, and she was good at too. I though the best way to keep her distracted was to keep her at fault. To blame for everything I knew was not hers to be blamed for. Despair was my dagger, guilt my poison. And oh how I twisted the knife. She was everything I had left. I didn’t know what else to do.”

You’re wrong, Elias. Love has way of overcoming all obstacles, even those we fear insurmountable. In the end, the bond of blood is a tie that cannot be broken.

I loved Caiden… it didn’t stop me from ramming my dagger in his chest.” Came a cold and cutting hiss in reply.

… I see this is going to be complicated.

You don’t know the half of it. I’ll take us further in.


WC - 1102
Last edited by Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:12 am

Image

He had felt it the moment they had closed the door behind them. Then again as they neared the docks. There had been a feeling in the air, but more than that. It was a sickening sensation that had burrowed itself deep into his belly, and try as he might, he simply could not shake it off. Now he stood upon the deck of the Krewella, a fluyt that had seen more than its fair share of hardship over its many years. Its captain was a gruff, scrawny man by the name of Rodrick. Captain Rodrick hadn't seemed to care that the streets and docks were empty, that the waves had receded so far that more than a few boats had been beached at a depth were they would have normally floated. The fact that half of his crew were missing didn't seem to deter the man either. The captain reminded him of his mother. She had seen all these signs as well, but like the stubborn fool that was their pilot, she had chosen to ignore them. Something was wrong here. He could taste it. He could smell it on the wind.

"No witch or lord will ever dictate to Captain Rodrick when and where he can sail his dear Krewella. My grandfather didn't build this ship with his own two hands just to have it strung about on the mad whims of others. Damn them, damn their ominous bullshyke, and damn those cowards so yellow that they'd abandoned ship at the first rumor of bad tidings. If they don't want their bloody wages this season, then the more for me." The illustrious captain had declared loud enough for all those frightened people aboard his vessel to hear. Elias gave his mother a look that explained just how he felt about this, but she was too busy surveying the ship to notice his exasperation. He shook his head, losing himself to the thoughts of frustration that had never left him.

For the next bell, he watched Zeltiva, his adopted home for years, fade into the horizon until it was nothing but a dark smear in the distance. With every passing tick, the void in his gut got deeper and darker.

He tried to distract himself by thinking of something, anything else. All that crept up in its place was how he had all but abandoned his scholarship at the University. He had been doing well there. learning things that he had never even once considered back In Ravok. Magecrafting in particular had been his forte, and his classes with Stonemiller and the other professors was the reason he had gotten up in the morning with such vigor. It was strange to think magic had become so large a part of his life. Three years ago it had simply been the sword, the shield, and his faith. So quickly things can change... So quickly she can make things change. Where would they go now he wondered. Mura? They could live as fortune tellers perhaps. Or maybe the Black Rock was in need of a couple more test subjects. His fist slammed against the railing, garnering the attention of more than a few nervous refugees nearby. Elias ignored them. They could count themselves lucky he could restrain his resentment. The young mage wanted to do much worse than just knock on wood.

He grimaced and peered up at the clouds, his frown growing larger as he did so. The sky had grown dark while he wasn't looking.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I had heard rumor that Zeltiva had been forewarned of the impending disaster by prophets.” Masala’s voice resonated from the darkness just at the edge of his vision. “Would that only we had all been so lucky. I lost loved ones in the storm. People I cared for deeply. I think the whole world suffered the same fate as you and I that day, Elias.

Doesn’t make it any easier to bear.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The storm hit with a ferocity that had taken them all by surprise. Captain Roderick had been the first to go, screaming bloody murder as the waves knocked him overboard and into their wild embrace. There was no way he could have survived in those turbulent waters. They churned and raged with a fury so unnatural, Elias had never seen anything like it in his life. No, Rodrick would not survive. Not him, and not the others that followed soon after.

Flooding in the decks below had driven many of the passengers up top. Many, like Elias and Raina, must have felt they had a better chance of surviving amidst the rain and winds than with the drowning rats. When the tidal waves rammed against the bow, many were caught unprepared, and many more were fed to sea because of it. His mother held unto him -her grip had been the only reason he wasn't in the drink now himself- and he held unto her in turn. He could barely make out her shouts for him to hold on over the thunder and roaring weather. He didn't need her to tell him that. His knuckles were practically bone as he latched himself to the main mast. Fear and panic had quickly lulled his mind into doing little else.

The rain pounded him, stinging and seeping into his skin raw. The winds buffeted him from left to right, as strong and fast as the waves of water that crashed alongside the hull. That feeling that had been grinding his insides up in mulch, well it had disappeared a tick or two before the first droplets of the storm. Like a fool he had thought that some kind of good sign, as if they had finally escaped whatever danger pursued them. How petching wrong he had been. There came a wordless scream of warning, and Elias braced without another thought, clutching unto his mother's arm as he readied himself. Another wave hit, the sea spilling hard unto the deck. He had never known terror so passionately as he did at that moment. His chest submerged, the world around him dark and ominous. He feared for himself, but he feared even more for his mother. She was strong, stronger than him at times, but not even she could walk away from this unharmed. How were they meant to survive this?

When he felt her hand let go of his, his heart broke.

As the waters receded and the fluyt limped its way above water once more, Elias could see the ship was empty. He couldn't see a single other soul on board. He whipped around frantically, coughing up the sea water he had inhaled. Oh gods. Oh gods no. Where is she! Tears or sea water, he couldn't tell at that point, had begun to well and blur his vision. He wiped them away angrily, continuing his search until he finally laid eyes on her. She had been swept away, but the railing had caught her before she could be sent overboard. "Mom." Was all he could marshal his mouth to say. It was a pathetic, pleading word filled with all misplaced gratitude and relief he felt. They both picked themselves up and met each other halfway. "I'm alright. I'm alright." She huffed, out of breath and brimming with the terrifying exhilaration that usually followed normally surviving certain death. If it had been anyone else, the young mage might have suspected they would have been afraid. But not her. Never her.

She pulled away from him and marched towards the mast. When she drew forth a safety rope, Elias began to understand her plan. He grabbed one himself and began working it around her, much to her protest. He ignored her completely, unwilling to compromise on the matter of her going first. Well he had tried to anyway. When she had smacked him and pointed to the two men coming towards them from the cabin, he couldn't help but stop what he had been doing to look.

There must have just been something about the blades they were holding that he had found particularly difficult to ignore.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A strong woman, your Raina. I see now why her loss would leave such a hollow wake. She was anchor for you, wasn’t she.

She was the strongest person I knew. I looked up to her. I followed her example. She and Caiden weren’t exactly the model of a modern family, but they were good people, good teachers… good parents. We’re getting close.

We can pause here if you’d like. I sense were growing close to the end.

I fear we are. No. I’ve relieved this moment a thousand times before. Once more won’t break me again.


WC - 1449
Last edited by Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:12 am

Image

"Its time to come home, Caldera." They had said. "Your father misses you." They had lied. The storm had driven the two of them out of hiding, clearly much to the one who had spoken first's displeasure. His partner however, saw no need for pretenses, not with the imminent threat of death looming over them all. "Petch this." He had screamed as he broke free from his companion's restraining clutches. "Were gonna petching die here!" The boat heaved again on cue, as if the emphasize his revelation. The man hefted his sword at Elias after finding his footing again, a hopelessness in his eyes that the young Stryfer had seen turn other apprentices to madness before. He tensed, or at least he thought he did. He was pretty rigid already. The man looked at Elias almost pleadingly, as if the teenager held his salvation. The mage only looked at him dumbly.

Then his mother had stepped in front of him, a pair of knives suddenly in her hands. It was all the man needed. He roared madly and lunged forward, sword held overhead. His partner cried out at him to stop, but his voice was lost in the clash of steel and boom of thunder.

Their bout lasted only a tick, weapons spraying sparks as they crossed in frenzied clashes, before the clouds seemed to open up and spew forth a fork of lightning right above their heads. The streak of electricity blinded Elias for a moment, then he heard the pop and snap of wood being torn apart, he looked up to see the mast falling. Even as it tumbled down, rope and sails billowing in the chaotic winds, the assassins swung, this time at him. He ducked to the side, trained instinct forcing him to move before his mind could even register the insanity of it. The rigging of the mast exploded upon the deck, crunching deep into the wood it impacted. Elias weaved through the debris and up the stairs to the helm. It had been where Rodrick had stood before the sea he loved so much devoured him whole. The assassin followed him, his leather heavy sluggish as he scrambled up the slippery steps. The mage didn't waste the opportunity, he kicked down at the man's shaven head, catching him cleanly and sending the bastard flying back down the short incline.

He took the time to look for his mother, quickly catching sight of her as she fought with the other man. He too wielded his sword now, and he swung it with more practiced calm than anyone in this situation had right to. He had met his match in Raina however, and her daggers had drawn more than few drops of blood from him already. Elias raced towards her, leaping over the railing blindly to race to her aid. He was nearly upon the second man when he felt his feet touch nothing but air.

He slammed into the floor as the Krewella lurched, a wavefront so massive it nearly toppled the entire ship. He groaned as a shooting pain passed through his head. It felt heavy, like a stone had been dropped upon it. He could see red mixing itself in with the rain that marred his vision. He ignored it and hauled himself back up, his thrumming mind reeling in protest.

The Ravokian stumbled back, dazed. He tried to will himself to focus, to move past the weight. It didn't work. He looked up, wiping at a blur that wasn't there, and horror struck him. He saw his mother laying against the railing again, this time her hand at her stomach and the massive wound that now tore across it.

The son had set upon the man like an animal. Charging him from behind, his enraged bellowing mirrored only by the storm around them. He had not survived the sudden and unexpected onslaught from behind, and had been remorselessly shoved overboard. In his haste to rush to her side however, Elias had failed to understand her groggy warning of the other rushing up behind him. The feel of the blade's edge across his back burned like whitefire. He cried out in pain, but the backside of a fist caught him across the face before he could even turn, and he fell hard to the floor, the dizzying black spots returning anew to plague him.

He didn't understand why the fool had simply not finished the job then and there. He must have known Elias wasn't dead. The way he strained to get up and failed repeatedly had to have been a dead give away. Yet he simply stepped over Elias, walking unsteadily over towards where his mother now laid, blood pouring from his glaring wound only to be swiftly swept away by the heavy downpour. Damn this storm he thought, cursing Laviku or Zulrav, or whatever petching god was responsible. If it had hadn't been for the storm, she would have never been caught off guard. He groaned as he tried to crawl himself toward her, to stop the man that now hovered over her with murder in his eyes. Get up! He screamed at himself. Please... just get up.[/i]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Such violence.” Came a sorrowful croak in distance. Elias focused on it, swam toward it, desperate to free himself from the drowning tides of his nightmare. “I can tell it doesn’t bother you.

I am accustomed to it.” He admitted freely. The truth was, he reveled in it. Elias Caldera was a killer who enjoyed killing. He couldn’t imagine a peaceful life for himself, like say as a farmer or a miller. No, his was the fate steeped in brutality and blood, one destined to end young and violent, as god intended. Yet this… even this was too much for a man like him. “Now you see why I come to you. Now you see how she was taken from me.

We should rest, boy. You’re are wary. I’ve taken much of your blood to get us this far.

No!” He roared into the void. “We keep going! We have to keep going!

Elias-


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He had felt himself drifting in and out, too weak to hold on to his consciousness. He remembered the ear shattering crash and the feel of the deck giving out from under him. Next came the water, maybe once or twice his eyes had managed to shoot open while he was submerged, but then after that, it had all gone completely black again. Now he was granted sight again, and part of him wished he could just go back to sleep. He thought he felt sand trickling at the edge of his eyes and he winced. The idea of even getting up didn't even rear its ugly head until a few chimes later. His mind was so addled, the young man was finding it difficult just to understand he was alive.

But he was alive.

He stirred for the first time, and a shallow scream burst through his salty lips. His hand shot to his chest, and when he pulled it free, he saw his fingers dipped in pure crimson. He coughed, and the taste of metal hit his teeth. He had been mistaken. He wasn't alive, he was just still dying.

Mom! The thought hit him like an anvil. He tried to get up and look for her, but the agony reigned his broken body back in, leaving him crippled and near lifeless on the beach. The sky was still dark, flashes of sprawling blue lightning illuminating the shadowy clouds. He could feel the sea flowing in across his legs then receding again, as if playing with the tattered cloth of his pants that had long since been ripped apart. At least the rain had stopped, or at least it had stopped raining on him anyway. How long had he been out?

He strained to raise his head at the very least. His attempts at speaking had ended poorly, regardless of how hard he willed himself to call out. Where is she! For a moment he thought he saw a board floating on the dancing waves, but it vanished a moment later. Where is she...

"Its an unsettling feeling..." Came a voice from nearby. Elias panicked, his body screaming for him to just. Petching. Move! His ragged, sandy breaths came in racing drags as his eyes swiveled about for the source of the sound. Had someone else survived? Where the men from Krewella back to finish the job?

Finally, he forced himself to turn his head to the left. A man sat there, only a few inches away, looking out across the stormy bay with an almost somber expression. Elias immediately tried to raise his hand again, bloody and weak as it may be, all he needed for was to channel his res. He was still a mage, damnit! A Ravoki born and true. He wouldn't let himself die like this. He would deal with this red haired stranger, then find his mother, and the two of them could go on to Syliras, or Taloba, or wherever the hell they wanted to.

Nothing happened. No res, no magic. Elias couldn't even feel his djed anymore, it as if it hid from him, and every time he got close to catching it, it whirled and surged away from his grasp. His teeth grit in frustration and dismay. Its this damn storm. He thought with another dry heave of his aching lungs. Its doing something to me, to my djed. It trying to kill me!

"...Not knowing." The stranger continued. "Not being able to see and feel and take comfort in what you should. It is an unsettling feeling." He spoke as if the two of them had been in the middle of a conversation. Elias looked at the man now, truly looked at him and saw a human, his body forged and hardened through hardship, no doubt the turmoils of battle by the look of his scars. His attire was plain and forgettable. Simple traveling wear with a dull red surcoat that had seen years of wear and tear. It matched the cowl draped across his neck, and... his eyes. Red eyes, like tired burgundy suns.

Elias felt his own watering for some reason, as if looking at the man was actually hurting him. He blinked away the tears, and as they dropped to the sand, he realized they were not for him, but for the one he was missing. "Have..." His voice was pained and gravely. "I can't find..." The red haired man turned to him then, his face barely changing as he looked upon Elias. He shifted his muscular arms over his knees and studied something above and beyond the mage's line of sight. The boy struggled to follow, but found he could not turn himself enough without eliciting a pathetic whimper.

"Sometimes, not knowing can be the easier path. The one that hurts the least, I find." A sudden and very tangible feeling of despair washed over Elias as he listened. He restarted his struggles anew, desperate to rise. He had to see what the other man was looking at. He had to see it! "But for those like you and I, we have to know, don't we? We cannot be hidden away from the loss, we cannot allow ourselves to shun the suffering." Elias made a terrified cry as he struggled in frustration to look up and turn over. He had to see. "For us, the pain is defining. The heartbreak, a compass that guides as much as it hurts."

"No!" Elias croaked. He reached to his belly with a final heave, the pain nearly throwing him back into the void. He looked up, and saw his mother lying next to him.

She did not stir.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


This is where you tell me that Viratas has a plan for me. That in this moment he chose me for reasons only the divine could ever comprehend, right?

Petch no.” Came a sour and condemning scowl. “You give the gods too much credit, my boy. They are as fickle and as flawed as we are, if not more so. It is because they are us, in a way. Our worst parts and our best made manifest. I’ve no doubt they dream of plans millennia in the making, that their machinations far exceed our mortal ones in scope and grandeur, but I do not for a moment believe that everything flows just as they like to make us think. You figure they were expecting the world to blow up in their faces the way it did five hundred years ago? You think they were expecting the storms five hundred years later? There is no grand design behind a child forced to bear witness to his own mother’s death.

He did not respond.

I do not know why they do what they do, Elias, but I know the quickest route to madness is trying to make sense of their motives while also holding them accountable for all the wrongs we face. Even more so when we hold them up upon such lofty pedestals that demand they be seen as perfect and undeniable. This… this is just what is, son. Bad, but not your fault.

I could have fought harder. I could have-

You could have done a lot of things different, and I have no doubt in my mine that they all would have ended in the same disaster I just saw.

I…

“You did what you could, lad. You did everything you could, and I know why you really came to me now. Lets finish this.

…Ok.


WC - 2282
Last edited by Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Succor for Sorrow

Postby Elias Caldera on November 11th, 2018, 5:12 am

Image

Tears had already filled his eyes before he had even laid eyes on her, part of him had already known what was awaiting him there. Now however, he openly sobbed into the sand, his hand feebly holding unto hers. He crawled forward with what he had left, and soon enough he held his mother's head in his arms. Her body was limp and unruly. She refused to wake up, even as he exhaustively shook her.

"She kept her promise." The unnatural voice came again, but Elias ignored it. "She pulled you from the wreckage where none should have survived. She waded through storm and chaos and till she found the shore, all the while struggling against Dira's insistence."

"She died there-"

"No..."

"Pulling you to safety, just like she promised she always would."

The man went silent for a long while, allowing Elias his moment of grief. His mind was blank of thoughts, though he did not know what good they would be even if he had them. He had felt something like this when his uncle had died, but now it was... He had no words. No feelings, no nothing for what this was. He wanted to just die again, to feel that numbness to the world that had calmed him before. This dark ache inside was too much to bear.

"It was her sacrifice that drew my attention, even amidst the chaos of Ivak's release. Her's and yours. And yet, as I strained my eyes to look upon you, I saw nothing but a shroud..."

Elias didn't understand. What was he talking about? He had yet to let go of the body, cradling it as he might a child or a broken pet. A modicum of strength had returned to him as time passed, allowing the hollow shell of a son to mourn with some semblance of control.

"The storm has undone many things, disrupted many things, and this magic that perplexed me so was just another victim of that. I fear it heralds approach of something terrible, and as I see into the blood that flows from your wounds now, I begin to understand."

"Who are you." Elias sighed quietly.

"I am the bond that gives you such grief in its severance. I am the love that drove you from your home and life. I am the anger and the sadness that pumps through your heart."

"Viratas." The son whispered.

" I come to you now, a harbinger of revelations unwelcome."

The mage gripped his mother tighter, his hug now more forlorn and futile than ever. With time however, his hold loosened, and finally he released her, her head gently placed upon his lap. His tears had stained her face, and he delicately wiped them away. "You came too late." He finally managed, clearing his throat and hopelessly trying reclaim any dignity he had left. He turned his gaze back to the God of Heritage, trying to elicit a response from himself, but always coming up short. The pain in chest and on his back had yet to be relieved, but he assumed he had gotten accustomed to it to at least sit up. It was taking all he had to stay awake, let alone muster the words to converse with a god. "Too late for either of us... Can you... bring her back?"

"No." The blood catcher said bluntly. Elias felt heat rush to his face all over again. He didn't think he had any tears left, but if he did, they would have to wait. He decided he was done crying today. "Then I have nothing for you. I have nothing left."

Something compelled Elias to look upon his own chest, where his wound bled freely. It would kill him soon, he thought, he hoped. What he saw there alarmed him more than death however. A gem of crimson red rested atop the bleeding gash. It seemed to be drawing the blood into itself, growing in size. Shocked, he looked to Viratas for an answer. The gloom in the diety's red eyes had never once faltered.

"Yours is not to die today." Viratas spoke, his voice hard and rumbling deep within his broad chest. It is to live, as your mother had wanted." The god looked... troubled for a moment, as if he was trying to recall a memory that refused to adhere.

"I don't want..." A wave of frailty hit him, and he nearly passed out. "This is... No. No, I will not."

Viratas frowned at him, but the being was merely a blur at that point. Something terrible and wonderful mired in an encroaching darkness. "I cannot choose this fate for you. It is not my place to decide if you should live or die, but you know your mother would not want you to surrender. She gave her life so that you could cling to yours. Will you truly throw that sacrifice away?"

Elias had no more strength for words. His eyes had closed, but he remained upright for the most part, falling in on himself as his lids grew heavier and heavier. There came a point where he could no longer open them even if he wanted to, and as it came and passed, he thought he heard the other man get up. "Your life was her final, greatest gift to you, but your fate from here on out will not be an enviable one. These things I cannot see as clearly as I should, but it does not take a god to know these will not be the final tears you weep over spilled blood. Know that for every one you have shed, I have wept a thousand already. For every one you will shed, I will weep a thousand more. The days ahead will be dark and bleak, and the light will never shine as brightly and as clearly as they have in days gone past, but you must survive, Elias, son of Rain. For her if for nothing else... I leave you now to decide, but should you wish to live, I will need to hear your answer, Ravokian, and you must make me believe it, for your voice is weak and fading, and I am far away."

For her then...

With what little he had left, he cried out, bellowing blind and dumb into the dark skies above. He screamed until he could scream no more, then the darkness took him.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


They told me later that a pair of twins scavenging the shoreline in the aftermath found me. That they carried me back to Zeltiva. I don’t remember any of it. All I recall is that I spent the next year in bed, unable to stand, move, even care for myself. I was broken and I was alone.

That satchel you brought with you. Whats inside of it?

Silence. Equivocation.

She is.” His eerie voice at last sounded back.

Her ashes. I brought them with me. I had hoped to finally fulfill her last wish and scatter them over the Lake she was born on once and for all. I’ve been back in Ravok for years now, and still she sits in that urn, denied her final rights.

You don’t want to forget her because you believe she haunts you.” Masala spoke, certainty in her tone belying the heartache behind it.

You believe you’re the one haunting her.

I… I just want to do what’s right, and I can’t. I need to forget her. I need to force myself to move on, or else I’ll never let her go. I’ll never be strong enough to do what needs to be done. She’ll be trapped in that jar for eternity if I have things my way, and all because her petching wretch of a son was too weak to protect her when it counted, and too pathetic to say goodbye when she was gone.

You did say goodbye, Elias. On that beach. What’s in that urn is just dust, my boy. Its not what she was, or who she use to be. Its not going to bring her back, nor keep her from moving on. All it is an anchor you’ve tied around your ankles. You’re drowning yourself in penance. No one is going to be able to pull you up and tell you its over save for you.

You say that like its so easy.” He groaned.

It isn’t, nor is it supposed to be. But you’re lucky. Most folk don’t get what you got that day.

What… what could you possibly mean by that?” he spat angrily.

I haven’t know you long, but I think its safe to assume that you and Viratas aren’t exactly on speaking terms, are you?

I do what I can to help his cause. I don’t pray to him to him though, if that’s what you mean.

Yet his will is etched into your flesh. Why?

Some sick joke? A conciliation? He pities me, I think.

No, Elias. That gnosis wasn’t meant for you. It was meant for Raina.

The Caldera froze.

What does that mean?

It means that doesn’t matter where she is. She’ll always be a part of you. Every time you honor that mark, every time you serve the blood, you’re honoring her memory. Raina Caldera is not some bucket of ashes sitting on your mantle piece, son, she’s all the that’s good and right that comes from those bloody red chains that saved your life, don’t you see? You have to let- wait

What? Masala. What is it?

Wake up, Elias. Somethings wrong!

What do you mea-

Wake up!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Reality came flooding back in like a wave, and Elais found himself gasping for air. How long had been under? What time was it? What day was it?

Elias! The urn!” Masala shouted from across the dim and dwindling embers of the fireplace. Blue eyes widened in shock as his hands instinctively lashed out to find the satchel.

Gone.

It was gone!

No gods, not again.

He was on his feet in an instant, flying through the pavilion entrance with an unnaturally strong leap that saw him skidding across the ground as he landed. When he looked up, he saw Shiara, fear and terror written in her beautiful features. In her hands lay limp her brother, unmoving, unfeeling. “Where is she?!” He bellowed at them both. He had meant his mother’s ashes, and there had been no way for Shiara to no that, yet still her response to the forceful question was to point at the woods to the west. “H-hair as white as snow, eyes like charcoal. She snuck into the camp, I don’t know how. And then… and then she just waved her hand at Mehrunes and fell. He won’t wake up. He won’t wake up!

He made to move, to dash away with he power of the flux guiding his legs, but the moment he bent his knee to take the first step, that was when the dizziness struck him.

"Elias, stop! You’ve lost too much blood!” Mother Masala croaked as she came shambling out of her tent. The stryfer looked at his hand, the scar still red and pulsing with blood. It had leaked across his arm and unto his clothes at that point. She was right. He’d lost too much.

Tightening his fists, Elias ignored the fatigue rolling over him and started for the treeline.

He had to get her back.

He had to get her back!


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Elias Caldera
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