Wanda looked around for the staircase. Of course. It was gone. Stupid tower.
Disappointed, Wanda took the elevator. She hit the button labeled "tippy top" and let the muzak calm her nerves.
A crash jolted her awake. The elevator door was ajar. Wanda peeked out and saw the entire forest laid out before her. With wide eyes she pounded on the "close doors" button.
"I asked for the tippy top, please! Not the great outdoors thank you!" The elevator sputtered and shook, treatening to plummet to the bottom.
"Fine!" Wanda cried, jumping onto the large protruding spike before her. "I'll take the next one!"
The elevator doors closed and disappeared. Of course. Stupid tower.3/1/2009 #331
Well, this wasn't getting anywhere. He wondered what the others were saying; that language they all shared seemed foreign to his ears. If only that strong raven would come and... translate.
As if answering his thoughts, the raven did show up. Somehow. "What are you, bird?" he kept speaking in Bracadan; hopefully, this raven would understand him. "Do you know what they say?"
It nodded.3/2/2009 . Edited 3/2/2009 #332
There was life in the tower. Not the usual crawling shadows. Real life. Living life. Nourishing life. And it was nearby. Only one was unattainable, high above at the tower's zenith.
The beast sent forth shadowed limbs. One went towards two breathing lights, seeping up from the ground beneath them and pulling them to its swampy chamber, larger than it seemed possible for the width of the tower. A second arm found another light on the outside. The spike it rested on became an ooze that curled around and sucked it in with the first two. A fourth light was far below, but not out of the beast's reach. It, too, was grabbed by a moving shadow and drawn up to the deadly swamp.
Each of the lights was separated and set against their worst fears, distracting them as the shadow in the center of the room devoured them from the inside out should they not overcome the illusions. And no one had before...3/2/2009 #333
He was a little boy again, the covers pulled tight to his chin with small, shaking hands. Thirry's gaze darted around the room - his new room now that he was living with Gramma - as he searched for the source of the noise that had awakened him. It was a moonless night, and his room was so very, very dark. All the corners were hidden by impenetrable shadow, and only a faint light from outside illuminated the area in front of his balcony.
Trembling with anxiety, Thirry recalled every single ghost and monster under the bed story Mortimer had ever told him. They hadn't seemed so scary out in the sunlight; in fact, he had laughed at how ridiculous some of the monsters were. But now, in the dead of night, those monsters didn't seem so funny anymore, and Thirry curled up beneath his blankets, trying to hide from his fears.
The sound came again, a heavy footstep, and it was much closer this time. Thirry's heart pounded and he screwed his eyes shut as a terrified whimper escaped his lips. He wished Mama were here, but she was dead now, and Daddy too. He wondered what they would think of him, hiding under his blankets like a wimpy baby. Mama had always told him not to be afraid of the dark, and he wasn't. Really. Daddy would probably tell him to get up, face his fears, and turn on the light. They would probably both be laughing at him now.
So Thirry decided that he was going to be a brave boy (he was ten years old, after all) and turn on the light.
He inched out from beneath his covers carefully and conjured a small globe of light. With a sigh of relief, he saw that the person making the footstep sounds was Lina's father, the grand hero, standing at the head of his bed. Lina would always talk about her daddy when they played together, how big and strong and good he was, how he'd kill all the bad people so that everyone else would be safe. He missed playing with Lina and wondered if her daddy had come to pick him up for a play date and felt sorry for accidentally blinding him.
Thirry was about to apologize when he saw the sword, naked and cruel, glinting in the glow of his magelight. He watched in disbelieving horror as Lina's father, having regained his vision, raised the blade over him. There was no mercy, no recognition, in the man's eyes.
As the blade plunged down towards his heart, Thirry screamed.3/2/2009 #334
Pearle swiveled, inspecting her surroundings. A dusty fog permeated the air, packing close to the ground. The ground itself resembled soot, patched by solitary pebbles set in precise rows.
A wind filtered across the bleak expanse, shaking the rocks. They quivered.
Pearle felt herself drawing in, dropping to the ground with hands encircling her knees. She peeked from her hair, glimpsing no moon and only sparse smoky clouds.
The stones slithered and drew into the center of the tract. One stone stepped on another, crawling up and over each other like conquerors storming a castle. Each stone expanded until they were equal with boulders, then random complexes of massive rock.
The ground split and ruptured into a thousand pieces before her eyes. Pearle found herself floating in a spectrum of rubble and swirling gray scythes of air. Each inhale of breath was a scream. Her stomach dropped then slammed into her throat as the winds propelled her higher up, making her float along with the stones that had melded and formed a mountainous stronghold. A face loomed above the fortress, a shallow reflection with derisive eyes. Two ethereal hands clasped each other in front of the gates.
A transparent sneer revealed itself. An invisble force thrust at her chest, seemingly smashing the ribs like a lead arrow to the heart. Her feeble form struck the ground-that-was-not-there as she hung in perpetual shards of broken hope.
"You failed, -" The rest of the awe-enrapturing soul-mangling voice faded with her conciousness.3/2/2009 . Edited 3/2/2009 #335
((Okay my post is SUPER long and kind of constituted a story so I was hesistant to post it here. Instead I uploaded it as a story and linked to it here. If that is not allowed I will gladly post the entire thing here.))3/3/2009 #336
The sword pierced his chest, tearing through skin and flesh, bone and sinew to reach the throbbing organ encased within. Thirry screamed in agony as the cold steel rent through his core, spilling hot blood over the sheets, sheets that greedily lapped up the crimson liquid. Through the haze of tears and pain, Thirry could see Lina's father smiling with satisfaction as he heaved a coughing sob choked with blood.
But this was not right.
Though his mind was clouded by terror and the throes of death, Thirry recalled that this was not the way things had unfolded. Though Lina's father did try and spear him through the heart, Thirry was wearing Mama's amulet, and the amulet deflected the blow to his arm. Gramma heard his screams and rushed into the room, quickly dispatching Lina's father before tending to his wounds.
Thirry survived that night, though it haunted his nightmares. And in those nightmares, he always died.
So this had to be a nightmare.
Armed with this knowledge, the pain and terror faded away into formless nothingness as Thirry woke up.3/5/2009 #337
Shattered fragments of glass were suspended in the air. The void of black encased her. The pain had receded. All she felt was nothing. Empty.
The shards of glass swiveled, a thousand different reflections. All she saw was a pallid girl distraught and incapable.
A part of the black curtain sliced to reveal the airborne fortress.
Pearle squinted past her hair. The stars seemed a waxy smear against the black mantle of the sky; but they shone.
She reached out and lightly flicked a fragment. It rotated in an almost perpetual movement until it faced the stars. A beam of light bounced off the glass and arced in a lance through the void. Pearle flicked another glass fragment, another mirror, another splinter of smashed hope. They all did the same. A weaving matrix of light spiraled. The spherical void was falling, falling...
Pearle released her arms from around her knees. She had landed in the tower.3/5/2009 . Edited 3/5/2009 #338
The beast basked in its sated feeling, but there was no such thing as too much. It enveloped itself with the life it stole, grabbing the screams and swallowing them, and each moment was bliss that it never wanted to stop.
But stop it did and the beast wasn't pleased. Its low roar told as much. These morsels felt bigger when it snatched them. The force still remained even now so how could it be drained already? It didn't break free. Nothing broke free. It groped for the two missing meals while draining the others faster. Nothing broke free.3/6/2009 #339
It was pitch dark, so Thirry conjured forth a ball of light. The illuminating rays fell upon a bleak swamp, fetid and monotonous, whose hungry gloom greedily swallowed the foreign glow. With only a pitifully small radius of light surrounding him, Thirry edged his way among the haphazard roots, all of them rotten black, and past the bottomless pits of quicksand-like muck. His throat was raw from his earlier screaming, and he coughed weakly, wishing he had a cup of honeyed tea to soothe it.
Thirry wandered aimlessly, keeping a wary eye out for whatever had attacked him earlier, and prayed he would soon find the exit.3/6/2009 . Edited 3/6/2009 #340
The sunny day mimicked the pain and chill in Wanda's heart and became sombre and overcast.Everything was fading to black now. The scene swirled and changed until Wanda found herself seated inthe Council of Lords.
She remembered these meetings. She hated these meetings. All the richest, fattest men in Terrafirma would gather round and discuss whatever it was that rich fat men discussed.
Obner was at the head of the table, acting as Regent. Wanda wasn't seated at the table at all. She was sitting on a raised throne in the corner. It had been this way since she was twelve; Obner was not technically the Regent so he could not act without her present. But she was always just a puppet, a child whopreferred playing with the ribbons on her dress to discussing matters ofpolicy.
Watching Obner preside over the Council, Wanda realized just how powerless she was.No one took her seriously.Well, not today.
"I move to consolidate the Eastern farmlands. With more control of production we may control the prices and become competitive in the world markets." The fat man's thraot warbled as he spoke.
Obner thought for a while, then nodded. "I had seen your proposal, Lord Pagher, and I must say I agree. If there are no objections the motion is passed."
The Council looked around to find the source of the small voice. Wanda carefully stepped down from her chair, cursing the youthful vanity that made her choose such an elaborate bustle. Standing before the lot of them she truly resembled a porcelain doll: dainty and delicate.
"Go back to your seat, Lady," Obner said.
"No. No, I object," Wanda said, as obstinate as she could be. "The farmers depend on those lands to support their families. If they go into the hands of one land owner, they will be at the mercy of another where they were once subsistent!"
"Oh ho!" Pagher chortled. "Rather heavy words from such a young maiden! Don't worry your pretty little head, Lady Wanda. We will take care of it."
"Queen," she corrected. "I will be- nay I am - queen!"
"Wanda!" Obner was seething."Go sit. Now."
Wanda shook her head defiantly, her curled pigtails looking ridiculous as she did so.She could feel their judgment, their ridicule pressing against her will. But she had to be strong…
"It is my right, to say what I feel. I also have a voice in this Council!" With each word their strength faded and her increased. The darkness was melting away.
"I will do what is best for my people. I will take up the helm that is my birthright. I will not be put aside."
She felt the ground shifting under her feet. The walls were wavering again. A strong dank smell over powered her.She was backin the tower.3/6/2009 #341
A foreboding black atmosphere was draped across the foul smelling swamp. Nevertheless, a greenish glow radiated from the mosses and plants.
Pearle inched past gnarled roots and leaped over pools of cloying tar. Her mind felt numbed and disturbed, but otherwise she was fine physically.
There was a bright wink. She stopped and stooped to examine the object. It was her switchknife that she'd thrown in the forest. She clasped it in her hand and roamed the swamp, looking for an exit or staircase.
Then the branch she just stepped on cracked, sending her falling towards the muck. Before her face hit the sludgy water, a writhing tentacle grabbed her by the neck.3/7/2009 #342
No. No! NO!
The meals were breaking free and the beast wanted food! It growled louder, disrupting the shadowy bogs that surrounded it along the entire chamber. It lashed out, trying to reclaim what it lost. It felt the recovery of one and in the simplest form of decision making, it drew the small morsel towards its sloppy mouth to devour it without getting all of the light out of it. That could only be done at its peak through the arms. The mouth dissolved it too quickly, but it still tasted good.
Luckily it was just one so far and a small one at that. It still had others to catch the proper way.
In the highest chamber of the dark tower, Ava could feel the rumbling below. She accounted it to more of the torturous tricks of the shadows. She never wanted to be left in the dark again! Unable to control her habitual movements any longer, she squeezed her eyes shut and huddled into a ball. In the pure black behind her eye lids, terrible faces met her. Hands clawed at her, wrenched her from the solid stone of the tower floor and drew her with them. She had feared as much and tried to open her eyes, but the devillish faces wouldn't let her.
"No! Leave me alone! Please!" she screamed and tried to push herself back. Her arms scrambled blindly for some kind of hold. Her dirty hands brushed over stone jutting out. The window sill? It was still back in the tower. Could it keep her there and out of the embrace of the shadows? She clenched the stone as she never had before and prayed her hopes would prove true. The shadows in her mind tugged her one way and she tugged back on reality. Then they left her beautiful face and moved their claws to her neck. With a strangled voice as if her neck were truely being clamped, she shrieked.
"HELP ME SOMEONE! PLEASE!"3/7/2009 . Edited 3/7/2009 #343
There was a faint screech, but the grappling tentacle around her neck tightened, cutting loose her breaths. Muffy squirmed against the slick surface and kicked her legs at the slimy limb. The only part of her body that the tentacle had wriggled around and constricted was her neck. Oxygen shortening, she grasped her pin-knife tighter before slamming it against the tentacle. It rebounded.
Her lungs felt like they had collapsed. The dim atmosphere got darker. Pearle mustered her strength and threw the pin in whatever direction, hoping to hit the central body of her captor.
There was a precisely human yelp.3/7/2009 #344
Nearby, just outside the range of his light, Thirry heard a splash and a strangled screech with smaller rapid splashes following shortly after. He paused and debated checking out the source of the sound. On the one hand, it could be Muffy or that other woman (what was her name again?). On the other hand, it could be something nasty out to eat him. Seeing as how the something nasty would still be out to eat him regardless of whether he could see it or not, Thirry decided that he may as well check out the source of the noises, which were rapidly fading in frequency.
Just as he started walking towards the source, there was a flash of silver as something pointy embedded itself in his shin. Thirry yelped, partially from surprise, partly from pain, before reaching down to yank the thing out of his leg. It was a tiny pin, long and sharp as a knife. It seemed vaguely familiar...
Muffy. He should have known. It seemed she was always injuring or otherwise inconveniencing him.
Thirry strode over to where Muffy was thrashing, ready to give her a piece of his mind, when he saw the shadowy tentacle wrapped around her throat. Concentrating on his light, Thirry made it brighter before sending out in front of him. What it revealed made him squawk in a mixture of horror and shock.
Not three feet away from where Muffy lay, her lips turning an unhealthy shade of bluish purple, was a giant shadow rabbit with beady black eyes that devoured Thirry's light.
Reflexively, Thirry pulsed his light to a blinding brilliance before he promply turned tail and ran. Death by rabid shadow bunny was definitely not something he wished to experience.3/8/2009 . Edited 3/8/2009 #345
She was trapped in a nimbus of nothing. Blank space filled the area around her as she hovered over, if there was anything under in the first place, expanses of pure, blinding white.
Pearle felt uprooted as the space seemed to plunge then skyrocket, shuddering and shaking the white, like someone hammering at a wall of snow. Gray cracks appeared.
Then the walls, just slightly off color from white, began retracting and constricting. There were rushes of air in and out as the space reduced.
She mauled at the barriers surrounding her with her fists, her legs, even trying to bite it. There was a sharp sting at her hip. She paused and reached down.
It was her pin again, still narrow and honed. Clenching it in her fist, she tore the point down across the gray barrier, shredding it.
She felt a shove to her back in a feeble contraction and was sent rolling away. She was in the swamp again. Behind her was a shadow rabbit with its stomach pierced; just like the one in the forest that had swallowed the key.
The swamp melted away, leaving behind cold stone and a stairway at the end. Pearle raced for it. If the only way to escape was leaping from the top of the tower, she was fine with that.3/8/2009 . Edited 3/8/2009 #346
Wanda sat on the cold concrete. This felt like the tower. And that horrible feeling...What was it? A dream? Nightmare? Hallucination? Wanda shook her head and stood on wobbly legs.
She heard quick and steady footfall and saw the little girl. Wanda started to call out but caught herself. The girl hadn't helped her before... probably wouldn't help her at all. She had to rely on herself. Wanda saw the girl's destination and braced herself. If that was the only way... Wanda would get there first.
This winding stair was made of rusted iron and spiral steeply towards the peak. Even if she got to its base before the girl she would never mae it up first.
Wanda ran. She thought and ran. Ran and thought. She pittered along, digging through her bag of tricks searching for something useful among her trinkets.
She found them. Wanda was about two yards from the stairs but took the chance. With nimble fingers she tied the knot and swung her device over her head. With all the force she could muster, she flung it toward the highest point through the center of the stair she could see and waited for the chink of the grappling hook. She found her mark about fifteen feet above the ground.
Wanda tugged on the spider silk. It would hold. Or so she hoped. She heard the footfalls again. So much closer this time. Her heart was still pounding but she had a new sense of resolve. She had to reach the princess. She had to get that prize.
So she climbed.3/8/2009 . Edited 3/8/2009 #347
"Trapped forever!" the demonic voice was positively giddy.
"Forever..." she repeated, her monotone voice was raspy from earlier screams.
"Swallowed by the shadows!"
Ava didn't know when she finally let go of...whatever she had been holding for whatever reason. She didn't know when she started standing or when she stopped resisting the dark hands that tugged on every limb. She thought she had been running somewhere. It felt like running through a pit of quicksand, but she was running...somewhere. It was all a dark blur and all she knew now was that there wasn't hope. Hope for what? Hope for anything maybe. There wasn't anything beyond the shadows. No li--what was the word? Was there even a word? She wasn't sure where that train of thought had been headed.
Her feet stopped moving. A dark hand helped lift her by her petite waist and legs until, in the undefined blackness, she was standing on something. Or was she? It didn't matter. There was nothing and no reason for anything so she let the shadows have their way. She couldn't even be afraid. Afraid of what? The hands ran over ever inch of her, enveloping her, freezing her.
Then they tipped her.
She swayed forward. Forward into more shadow and nothing. And why should she resist? Something (maybe the shadows that carried her) told her that whatever was there was the only thing that mattered anymore. Ava reached out blindly, blue eyes never seeing behind closed lids that kept her shrouded in the endless dark. She was ready to grab whatever lay in wait.
"No escape..." she whispered with a delusional smile marring her pale young beauty. "Shadows...forever."
And she tipped a little faster from the ledge, ready to embrace whatever met her below.
((This post is just a small step in the future compared to where you guys are now. You can still save her, but you better hurry, adventurers. ;p ))3/8/2009 #348
Thirry came to a screeching halt as the swamp evaporated around him. Whirling around, he spied a spiral staircase on the opposite side of the room, Muffy and Wanda already scaling it. Sparing a blink for Wanda's unconventional stair-climbing technique, Thirry dashed for the stairs, cursing silently all the while.
Once he reached the base of the stairs, Thirry snatched up the spider silk rope and gave it a good yank, causing the rope to suddenly tense all along its length. Even if the woman climbing it didn't lose her grip entirely, she was in for a bad case of rope burn.
With one competitor down (and hopefully out), Thirry charged up the stairs, taking them three and four at a time. He allowed himself a brief smug grin - if nothing unexpected happened, he'd overtake Muffy in no time at all and be well on his way to rescuing the princess and claiming the entire reward.
On second thought, having someone else go in front as bait never hurt...
Thirry prepped his feather, preparing the enchantment with Muffy as its target. As he passed by, he snatched the girl by her collar and activated the spell, rendering Muffy as light as a feather.
"Hello. Need some help? Well, you're getting it anyway."3/9/2009 . Edited 3/9/2009 #349
Pearle felt a hand wrench her back by the collar. Her head swerved and she saw Thirry clutching a feather, directed at her.
She felt weightless for a moment. As Thirry began moving, she clasped her hands on his shoulders and pushed, jumping up with ease. Legs over his shoulders, she leaped again, flinging her legs behind her with one hand reaching for the stair banisters. Feeling as if some force had weakened, she found herself vaulting up the stairs through the means of unnatural leaps and maneuvers.
She crashed through a simple wooden door that had been left ajar. Then she saw the princess, hair flung in several directions by a crisp wind. Dawn was approaching, framing the petite girl in a pleasant light. Then she tipped over.
Pearle, still feeling light, jumped along with her and managed to grab her by the shoulder. She lamented the fact that she hadn't gripped the ledge in time and plunged with the princess into a tree, the branches tearing at her skin.
With hope, the reward would still be substantial despite the fact the princess was most likely dead. Possibly she would live with scars if she was lucky. Pearle didn't muse over the same applying to her.3/9/2009 . Edited 3/9/2009 #350
Something broke through the frigid embrace of shadow. Something warm on her shoulder that made Ava wonder things again, but this time with a feeling attached. Hope maybe? Whatever that was.
But the shadows pulled tighter and then there was pain. Things whipped at her all over and pierced her, warmer than the shadows, but she didn't like it any better. Like? She remembered what that was. This wasn't it.
Ava's eyes squeezed tighter and tears seeped through, pitch black streaks against her unusually pale skin. The shadows were no longer filled with glee. They were angry that something was pulling her away from them and yet they still had control. They made sure she knew. As long as she was lost in that shadow behind her eyes, she was theirs, and she couldn't get her eyes to open. The shadows didn't want her to ever again.
Their claws moved from all over and congregated at her throat once more. Tears streamed faster and she couldn't lift her throbbing arms to stop her unseen tormentors nor her aching legs to lash out.
"P--please!" she rasped, praying with this newly discovered hope that the warm thing was still there. "Let g--go!"3/9/2009 #351
Besides the coarse lash of the branches against her skin, there were whips from an unknown source, scatching and sharp.
They both fell with a thud, despite the tree cushioning most of the full impact.
Pearle gripped her pin tighter as she watched black rivers slither down Ava's face. The younger girl's face was torn in a grimace of agony, the black rivulets marring her pale face. She spasmed and thrashed on the forest floor.
Seeking an action to relieve the princess of the sickly looking tears, or was it blood, running down her face, Pearle struck Ava across the face. Her eyes lifted the length of an eyelash before slamming shut again; but in that slight moment, she'd witnessed the things swarming in the girl's eye sockets. Ghastly shadow-colored streaks that resembled worms or deadly snakes. The glimpse of blue, the color of her eye, looked steadily devoured. What if the squirming shadows continued and engulfed her brain, possibly more so?
When the girl's eyes shadowed red, Pearle backed away and aimed the pin at the girl's eyes.
"Princess Ava!" Pearle turned and saw a battalion of guards.3/9/2009 #352
Dammit. Wanda stared down at her raw hands. She had had everything planned out, like chess pieces on a board. But that man! She hadn't factored him in. A novice mistake. Never again.
She gathered the remnants of her belongings and peered over the edge. Despite herself she gasped in horror. The little girl - the seemingly innocent girl - was crouched over the princess' crumpled form with her pin poised over her heart.
This time Wanda didn't plan for anything. She just acted. She dropped from the window and fell inot a sprint on the ground.
"What are you doing? Get away from her!" She pushed the little girl from the princess and bit back tears at the sight of her eyes. That monstorous girl had already attacked.
Wanda pulled a cloth from her bag, embroidered with blues and pinks and purples. She set it over the young princess' eyes and and chanted, pleaded really, a new spell.
Ripari okulo, Libera knabino. Ripari okulo, Libera knabino.3/9/2009 #353
Pearle acted in a rush. She scrabbled to the feet of the tallest man with his eyes the widest in alarm. His hand was at the sword secured to his hip. She pretended to stumble and crash to the ground in front of him, clawing at the earth and spasming. She made a show of inhaling deeply, then scratching at the skin around her eyes.
"Please, help me, sir! That witch - help the Princess! She's cursing her like she did me! Everything I see is in shadows? The woman is a witch! She renounces the gods through her dark magic. She cursed me." Pearle shook into shudders and tears. "Help the Princess! I was trying to s-save her after running from the witch and escaping her tower, but she made me try to kill her." Muffy was screeching by the end.
She halted in her administrations and pointed at the pin lying on the ground beside the Princess, writhing with some of the displaced shadows that had crawled off the Princess' face and now swarmed around the pin. "She cursed it with those demon snakes! That foul language!" From the expressions of some of the junior-looking soldiers, her plan had worked enough. They were edging away or drawing their swords, staring with hysteric eyes at the woman.
Pearle shivered and made sure some soldiers saw her do so. She wrapped her arms around her knees and whimpered. "My uncle and me, we were looking for the Princess. We heard she was in trouble. We've lived her long and know how good she is. Please, help her..."3/9/2009 . Edited 3/9/2009 #354
The shadows were retreating but the Princess still could not find her way. Tears were streaming down Wanda's cheeks now. She could be her younger sister. So small and delicate. This shouldn't be happening to her. Wanda shook her head. She wouln't fail her too. "Helpi mi," she whispered to the wind. The wind picked up in response, shutting out the shouting of the gurads and the little girls theatrics.
"Veki, Ava," she pleaded. "Vi libera. Vi libera, Ava! Veki! Veki"
Wanda felt herself slipping. Everything was hazy. Another of those hallucinations? The pull was too strong. The cries were too loud. Wanda let the rush wave over.
It was white. And bright. Very very bright. And there, cowering in the corner, was little Princess Ava.
Wanda walked slowly to where the she was and sat next to her.
But what does one say to a Princess lost in her own mind? Wanda thought for a moment and said what she would hope a preson would say to her.
"Hi."3/9/2009 . Edited 3/9/2009 #355
The hands were so hard on her throat. Her breathing was more shallow with each pained gasp. It hurt so much! Why couldn't it just end? Why couldn't they just leave her alone and let her go back to the warm thing? Because they were evil, of course.
And then...did they finally listen? Did shadows have compassion or did something send them away? Everything felt warmer around her, but she was too afraid to look beyond the now gray plane behind her eyes. She just curled up as if it might help protect her from the shadows' return.
Was that a voice? A real person's voice and not just a vague touch? It certainly wasn't a soldier. She would make sure her father knew. Ava dared to squint her eyes for a short peek, but shut them immediately afterward. It was so bright around her.
"Hello," her raspy voice was meek. "How did you--? Are we outside the tower? Can I go home? I promise I won't sneak out any more. Just don't let the shadows come back."3/9/2009 #356
She spoke! She was shaking and scared but she could hear her!
Wanda quickly reassured her. "The shadows are gone. I - " Wanda stopped herself. Now was not th time to be taking credit. "Well it doesn't matter how, but they're gone. . All you have to do is wake up now."
Wanda searched for more convincing words. "Everyone was looking for you. Your father can't wait to have you home safe. Please wake up, Ava."3/9/2009 #357
Wake up? She wasn't awake now? It couldn't possibly all be a dream. It all felt so real. Could everything have been a dream and she was really safe in bed with her favorite blanket and stuffed toy? Ava was terrifed to imagine that not being the case now that it was in her mind. But she would never know unless she opened her eyes. It didn't seem like the woman was lying. She didn't feel shadows and it was beautiful. Maybe...
Ava peeked her eyes open again into the blinding white space. It was so inviting and nice like the lady. She opened her eyes further, but nothing changed. Was she awake yet? Then she coughed and couldn't stop. It felt like she might be ill and she felt something leaving her throat. It was wet and oozy and disgusting. Her eyes teared with the same gunk, but she couldn't wipe it away as well as politely cover her mouth.
Ava rubbed her eyes fiercely when she felt a moment of relief and when she removed her hands, she found herself on the ground with a cloth covering her face. It was stained with black ooze. She tore it from over her face and continued to cough until the spasm subsided. She looked around and found an odd scene, but she paid it no mind. The woman from the white place was beside her. Ava smiled, uncaring that she was further soiled from her little adventure and through her arms around the woman's neck.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" she cried. The first beams of dawn were on her and the woman making the embrace that much warmer.3/9/2009 #358
The soldiers had rushed at the woman and princess, but not in the intended manner involving protective yells and brandishings of the sword. Instead, they supported the shaky woman and, more importantly, came to the Princess' aid. The leader, the tallest man, lifted her in his arms and signaled for someone - a healer or physician? - to come. They all treated her like they were her fathers, uncles, or older brothers. She even spotted a younger, lavishly dressed boy with hair identical to the princess. He was dragging his sleeve against his nose and looking on at the scene, kneeling beside the princess while the physician checked her for fatal harm.
Pearle stood idly under a tree, watching them thank the woman. She supposed it was right and just; she hadn't done much to the princess after leaping after her from the tower ledge. She could've saved her, but then Wanda came; or could she have? The princess was about her age. If she was in such a state, they wouldn't have batallions of guards searching for her, or those like her seeking reward and ending up looking upon the princess with empathy and compassion like the woman. The woman was conversing with the princess now, urging her to do something by the stops in her conversation, as if to search for deeper passages of words that would affect the princess for the better. A role model. Pearle didn't have one. Nothing to judge by. No matter, the best teacher is experience. Who'd told her that? Thrag? Her father who she'd never known? A hidden reservoir of knowledge every human inanely had?
She pondered this as they carried the princess off, the woman praddling along. Pearle turned away as she watched the woman prod the leader, presumably to take credit. She wandered around the tower - or the rubble, as the tower had collapsed almost fluidly - and looked for Thirry. The trees had shone a shade brighter, greener in the light of the morning sun. Dawn had come, again. Dawn seemed to carry things into the world, things and thoughts unseen. Pearle squinted. On the horizon was what she'd been looking for!
She picked up a stick and drew figures into the dirt in a blank expanse that would hopefully be even easier to spot when there was wording inscribed on the plain area of green grass.
If you see this, then you haven't died. Good. Maybe we'll meet again, Uncle Thirry. Bye for now.
- Muffy3/9/2009 #359
There was a lot of ruckus for the rest of the day. Horns blared and people cheered and even though the King never promised any such reward that a hero might expect, a feast was given in Lady Wandarella's honor. Ava was eternally grateful to the woman who was offered an esteemed guest's place within the castle any time she wished to visit. But once Ava had rested and feasted with the others, something nagged at her about the forest. From her chamber window that evening, while the others continued to feast, she saw where the tower would've been, high over even the tallest of trees. Why had no one but those three people come?
And where were the others?
As grateful as she was, she couldn't help, but think Lady Wanda wasn't the one who found her first. Someone else found her and yet another surely helped. Against her family's wishes, and even her own, Ava snuck back out. It wasn't terribly difficult when someone as curious as her knew all sorts of secret passages. Everyone was distracted anyway and thought she was safely tucked into bed.
Ava followed the path she had taken, able to follow clear scratch marks back to the tower's previous location. It was so empty looking. Whatever evil force held it together had disappeared along with any tower that was once there. Or maybe she just couldn't see it. But she could see someone there and her heart raced. She realized now that she wouldn't be able to tell who helped or who might yet want to hurt her. She took her chances, hands clenched over an item in a pouch for courage, and stepped forward.
"Excuse me? I'm sorry to seem rather strange, but--" She certainly sounded strange. "Were you--did you happen to--? Were you here yesterday as well?"3/10/2009 . Edited 3/10/2009 #360
|Forum Moderators: Kyllorac karma-dollie, Denizen47, Chasing Skylines, Nicki BluIs|
|Membership Length: 2+ years 1 year 6+ months 1 month 2+ weeks new member|