Solo A New Perspective (Part III)

So move along with some new passion knowing everything will be fine.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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A New Perspective (Part III)

Postby Asterope on December 1st, 2019, 1:48 am

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42nd of Autumn, 519 AV

(Continued from A New Perspective Part II*)

Aster and Imogen bid their farewells to Jala, and Aster promised to come and see her again sometime when she could slip away. As they left her tent and made their way back through Tent City, Aster glanced up; when she had left the barracks, it had been just before midmorning. It was now past noon. If she wasn't careful, she wouldn't even make it back before dark.

"Hey, Aster," Imogen piped up as they walked, looking thoughtful.

"What is it?" Aster asked, blinking as she tore her gaze from the sky to look down at the girl walking just slightly ahead of her.

"I know you have to get back, but do you think you have some more time? I wanna show you something." Imogen peered up at her, for a moment seeming uncharacteristically shy. Aster found a soft smile curving her mouth without even realizing it.

"Sure, Imogen. I can stay out a little bit longer." Far be it from her to say no to the little girl. Still, trepidation lurked in her gut; Alard was going to be furious. She would probably be placed back on lockdown. She'd be lucky to leave the apartment with him accompanying her for who knows how long; was it worth it?

Something inside her said yes as she looked down at Imogen skipping ahead of her cheerfully. Things could be worse, she thought, recalling the slaves stuck in cages in the market, and thinking about what the old woman had said about having nobody. How terrible it would be indeed to have nobody at all; perhaps some things were worth the consequences they brought with them.

And so instead of being logical and listening to the not at all unreasonable part of her brain telling her to get back as soon as possible to minimize the consequences, Aster followed her heart and the gentle warmth blooming in her chest, letting Imogen lead her back towards the city.

As they walked, Aster found herself lost in her thoughts; Imogen was chatting about something, telling the story of an adventure through the city and stealing some old man's neglected cat. Aster tried to listen, she did, and she caught bits and pieces here and there, but so much had happened that day that she found herself thinking the day's events over in her mind.

She'd been forced to reevaluate a lot in a short period of time. The way she thought about the friends and even family she had made and found, the things she knew and valued...the way she thought about such things had been flipped upside down, leaving her uncertain but brimming with a deep thankfulness.

The one thing she had been avoiding thinking about, not sure where her feelings stood on the matter, was Syna. Her emotions regarding the goddess were tumultuous at best; alternating sharply and without warning, swinging like an out of rhythm pendulum, between sadness and anger and hatred and love and everything in between.

But she couldn't avoid thinking about it forever. Aster peeked back up at the sky; it was a faded dusky blue that day, with only a few wispy clouds drifting across its vast expanse. The sun was shining bright and hot, beating down on her and the land around her.

Word Count: 549
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
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A New Perspective (Part III)

Postby Asterope on December 2nd, 2019, 1:38 am

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"Let's take a quick break here," Imogen interrupted Aster's thoughts, and the Eth snapped her gaze back down, realizing that they had been traversing the city for some time. Embarrassment washed over her; if Imogen noticed she hadn't been paying attention, then the girl didn't say anything, but Aster felt foolish all the same. It was dangerous to walk around Sunberth normally, let alone when you weren't paying attention. At least she wasn't alone.

They were in some sort of...park? Aster didn't have another word for it. It was a square sectioned off from the surrounding buildings, with a huge, gnarled oak tree in the center taking up most of it. A few empty and charred fire pits dotted the area, and there were a few handful of people sitting around, talking and enjoying the weather. It was surprisingly peaceful.

The whole scene, however, was made uncomfortably eerie by the handful of nooses that hung from the tree's thick branches, frayed and swinging in the breeze, the rope creaking slightly. Some of them were clearly older than others. Many birds sat perched in the branches of the tree, occasionally cawing or flapping their wings; they looked like ordinary crows, as far as Aster could tell, except that most of them seemed to be wearing bird skulls on their heads. A few squirrels ran by, chittering at each other.

It seemed that even the tranquil spots of Sunberth weren't safe from the city's grim air. If it weren't for the nooses in the tree and the strange skulls, Aster would say that the park was really quite beautiful. Imogen, however, did not seem to notice or care as she found an unoccupied bench and plopped down on it. Aster joined her.

"M'feet hurt," Imogen grumbled, swinging her legs.

Aster chuckled slightly. "You have been doing an awful lot of running around today. Take a break and let me know when you're ready to continue." She could use the time to finish mulling over some of her more introspective thoughts, in any case; they were still nagging at her.

Imogen nodded and rolled so that her back was pressed against Aster's side and her legs were stretched out over the length of the bench, her feet just barely dangling over the edge. The Eth faltered, blinking down at the warmth of the little girl pressed against her side; some sort of instinct told her to wrap her arm around Imogen, but she was wary of crossing any boundaries with the girl, so she remained sitting as she was, leaning back and looking back up at the sky again.

A few of the strange skull-wearing crows wheeled overhead, cawing, but she paid them no mind. The warmth of Imogen's back against her arm and side felt like the warmth of the sun across her face; gentle and soothing. She appreciated both; would certainly miss both when they were gone, and was deeply grateful for both.

And there was the crux of the issue; she was still grateful for Syna, wasn't she? No matter where she went, she had a guarantee that the sun goddess would follow. When night fell, Asterope knew that she could expect the warmth of her rays again the next day. Even silent as she was, she was always there. And Aster loved her; deeply and painfully, she still loved Syna.

There had to be a reason why Syna had put her here; why she had let her fall into the ocean. Aster refused to believe it was an accident; as if a goddess could be so careless. And surely, the reason had to be a good one? Who was she to try and infer and judge the reasons of the celestial? Perhaps she just needed to put more trust and faith in the goddess; that she knew best, and that there was a reason.

Word Count: 645
Total: 1,194
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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A New Perspective (Part III)

Postby Asterope on December 2nd, 2019, 2:01 am

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Aster knew she hadn't been abandoned, at the very least; she had never doubted that. If she had been abandoned, then why would Syna bother to gift her with the ethereal daytime form that she had, or the unique gift to age things by touch? No, she would know if she was abandoned, Aster felt sure of that.

So perhaps she just had to learn to swallow the pain and the bitterness, to accept the sorrow, and to trust in the sun lady. And perhaps in a strange way it was a good thing; of course she missed Syna, and of course she had suffered greatly since her fall, but...she remembered virtually nothing of her time before this. She didn't even know what she was longing for, truly.

And since she had been here, even with the suffering, she had learned so much and seen so much and met so many people. Felt loss, yes, but felt love too. Found a purpose, a calling; helped people. If truly given the opportunity to leave it all behind and leave again, back to something she couldn't remember except for a hollowness in her chest and emptiness in her heart, would she?

The answer used to be yes, absolutely, of course; it was all she ever wanted, the thing she desired the most from the second her body hit the ocean waves. But now? With Imogen's body shifting to get more comfortable on the bench, pressed up against her, and the thoughts of everything she had seen and done and felt and experienced racing through her mind?

Now, Aster wasn't so sure, and it startled her to realize that she would hesitate given the offer, because she well and truly did not know which she would rather; to continue experiencing pain for the moments of happiness and love and joy, or to give both up completely to return to something she could not even truly remember but that she longed for with every fiber of her being.

Was all the pain and suffering worth those few good, shining moments that broke through like light leaking from cracks in a wall? Were the instances she cherished worth the anguish? She couldn't say for certain. But just maybe they were. Aster felt something shift inside her chest, an almost tangible thing, just slightly as this realization washed over her. This was her home, too, she realized. Not Sunberth, but all of it, everything, everywhere. And perhaps it could be just as good as the home she had lost and hardly even remembered.

And through the loneliness and sorrow where that other home used to be, through the pain that she knew she would never quite be rid of at losing Syna in a way that few knew her to begin with, Aster felt that familiar flicker of gratitude. Perhaps this was the reason she had fallen?

Perhaps she still had things to learn. Regardless, she would know none of it, have experienced none of it, had Syna not decided to put her here in the first place. And despite all the pain, it was those cherished moments that Aster thought of, and the thought of losing them or never experiencing them was intensely heart wrenching.

It was all very confusing to think about, and it made her anxious to even consider the possibility, that she no longer knew what she wanted. But still, something in her settled as she silently thanked Syna for giving her the chance to experience it at all.

Word Count: 587
Total: 1,781
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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A New Perspective (Part III)

Postby Asterope on December 2nd, 2019, 2:27 am

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Her head was beginning to hurt from all the reevaluating she had done today; but Aster could feel a warmth in her chest that hadn't been there before, and she felt strangely lighter. Almost happier; certainly more calm, more content, more at peace. She wondered what else she would realize before the day was out.

Beside her, Imogen finally stirred. Aster had no idea how long they had been sitting there; it didn't seem as if it had gotten any darker, so perhaps not that long. Clearing her throat, Aster looked down at the young girl. "Ready to go?" She asked.

Imogen nodded, sitting up straight and stretching before hopping to her feet. "Yup!" She chirped, as bright and cheerful as ever. Aster smiled softly as she rose to her feet, shaking out the pins and needles in her arm from where Imogen had been leaning on her. She hadn't even noticed the numbness in her arm, she'd been so lost in her thoughts, but she somehow knew that even if she had noticed that she wouldn't have minded.

"We're almost there, promise," Imogen grinned toothily, grabbing Aster's hand and practically dragging her out of the park. Aster had to jog to keep pace, shaking her head.

"I'm coming, Imogen, you don't have to drag me," she chided, but it was gentle and bemused, but the girl just shot another wide grin over her shoulder as she released Aster's hand from her own, still leading the way down an alleyway between dilapidated buildings. "Where are we, anyway?"

"The Sunset Quarters," chirped Imogen. "C'mon, this way," she called, turning a sudden sharp left. Aster followed, skidding slightly on the turn as she followed the girl down a somehow even narrower alley, wondering where they could possibly be going.

"Here we are!" Imogen suddenly announced, coming to an abrupt halt and almost sending Aster stumbling into her. The Eth just barely managed to catch herself, bracing her hand on the nearby wall and blowing out an exasperated breath.

"Imogen, please," she said, but she was smiling at the girl's infectious excitement; she was practically vibrating with it, wide eyes bright as she bounced on her toes and looked at Aster.

"Okay, okay," Imogen clapped her hands together. "Close your eyes!" Aster wondered for a moment if she should be concerned, considering where they currently were, but dismissed the thought without giving it any weight as she shut her eyes. She heard some rustling and clattering as Imogen moved some things around before making a satisfied sound.

Imogen grabbed both her hands suddenly, and Aster jumped slightly in surprise, but the girl just began leading her forward. Aster followed, mindful of her steps. "Careful, watch your step. Oh, and duck!" Imogen added just slightly too late as the tips of Aster's horns knocked on the top of a doorframe. The Eth winced slightly, bowing her head to enter and being mindful of her step as Imogen lead her down two short but what felt like crumbling stone stairs.

Supposedly they had entered one of the buildings, but Aster could still feel a slight breeze and sunshine flickering over her, though it wasn't complete. It was being blocked by something, at least partially. Aster furrowed her brow as she tried to figure out where she was, following Imogen a few steps further. She could feel something softer under her feet now. Dirt and grass? "No peeking," Imogen called, voice stern.

"I'm not, promise," Aster huffed, though she was tempted to. "Stay here," Imogen ordered, releasing her hands, letting Aster drop her arms back to her sides.

Finally, after a moment with some more rustling, Imogen spoke again. "Okay! Open your eyes now." Aster blinked her eyes open, peering around curiously, and stared in surprise.

Word Count: 630
Total: 2,411
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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Medals: 5
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A New Perspective (Part III)

Postby Asterope on December 2nd, 2019, 2:54 am

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She was standing in a garden. Well, perhaps that word was generous; but that was clearly the intention. Craning her neck up, Aster realized they were indeed inside one of the houses, but it was long abandoned and half reduced to rubble, the collapsed roof and half-caved in walls allowing for plenty of sunlight to come in.

Most of the floor was dirt, with long grass growing; it was longest around the edges, but had been roughly cut down to a more manageable length elsewhere. Wildflowers intermingled with the grass; there was a rosebush in the back that was climbing what was left of the rubble, looking as if it had been roughly hacked away in places to keep it within its designated spot.

A few sunflowers sprang up from the grass nearest the open wall, their faces turned towards the sun; some were clearly newer than others. There was a row of tulips against the far wall, many of them wilted but still valiantly trying to grow.

It was clear that the spot had grown itself, wild grass and flowers taking back the rubble, but that someone had been tending to and caring for it, and trying to grow other flowers as well. Aster took it all in; in the corner near where they had entered, on a small wooden bench, sat a ragged pair of gloves, a trowel, a rusty pair of shears, and a dented watering can. It was just a garden...but it was so much more than that, and it took Asterope's breath away.

"You did all this yourself?" Aster asked, in amazement, turning back to Imogen. The girl nodded, beaming.

"Do you like it?" She asked, eagerly, and Aster wondered if she imagined the nervousness in her voice.

"I love it, Imogen. It's beautiful. Thank you for showing me." Aster said, as sincerely as she could as she walked further into the small hidden garden. Imogen beamed, her smile widening if that was even possible, and started to point things out to Aster, babbling away as she explained what she had found and what she had done and the work she'd put in; what had worked and what hadn't and what she wanted to do in the future.

Aster listened quietly to it all with a smile, looking down at Imogen in wonder and amazement. There was something about this little girl, a dirty, orphaned thing living on the streets of Sunberth, that still had so much joy in her. So much light and love and happiness, excitement, cheerfulness; she was curious and she still loved the beauty in the world, could still find the beauty in the world.

Aster never would have expected such a thing from her, but she was thankful for it, and for Imogen, all the same. If she could do it, then surely anybody could; then surely Aster could as well, could learn to push past her own fears and pain and doubt to continue to see the world in such a way.

"Thank you, Imogen," Aster cut the girl off suddenly, as she spun in a small circle to look around and take all of the flowers and grass in. It was a deep thanks from the very bottom of her heart, and Aster pushed as much sincerity and genuine emotion into as she could, trying to convey to Imogen what this all meant to her.

Imogen blinked slightly; she could tell she was being thanked for more than just showing Aster the garden, but it was impossible to say beyond that. "Uhm, you're welcome. It's not that big of a deal, it's just a garden. It's not even very good."

"I think it's fantastic," Aster said, smiling. "In fact, I think it's the best I've ever seen." And it was. No garden in a thousand years, tended to by a team of the most expert gardeners, with the rarest and most beautiful of flowers, could beat this tiny, rough, handcrafted garden of love; cobbled together by a child who had lost everything, but still found it in her to enjoy such a simple thing.

(Continued in A New Perspective Part IV*)

Word Count: 686
Total: 3,097
Image

The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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