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Ascension

 
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Bailey Raptis
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 10 Feb 2013
Posts: 106
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Jobs: Tailor
Can Be Found: Twilight Isle
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:34 pm    Post subject: Ascension Reply with quote

I used to have nightmares about Faerie. The Keepers, the Manor, the torturous way They transformed my body. It took years for Fletcher and Lyeorn to banish them, through a combination of magic, medicine, and talk therapy. Even so, they never went away entirely. Rather, it was a matter of degrees. I could go a week, then two weeks, then a month, then three months, then six months, until eventually they became irregularly occurrences. Once a year, perhaps, or once every year and a half.

The frequency decreased, and so did the intensity. I no longer found myself bombarded by the odor of plaster and wet grass, the sight of gray clouds sucking up all the light overhead, the cold blandness of porridge, the itch and prickle of calloused fingertips on my shoulders, or the insistent tick-tick-ticking of hammer and chisel against marble. Eventually, I could feel the volume being turned down, the color fading, my skin thickening against the mental incursions. The dreams became unpleasant, but tolerable, and I no longer woke up with cold sweats and shivers when I dreamt of Arcadia.

I would like to say that Fletcher and Lyeorn deserve all the credit for this, but that would be a lie. Some of it is the simple fact that I am older. I forget who it was, or when I heard it, but I once heard the words "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."* Although I do not subscribe to the overall system of belief that saying comes from, I do find it to hold true. I lost my family, and had to find my own way through the world. Night terrors would have been a liability, and so I found a way to bury the fear. The magic of makeup, and dressing up in a more feminine fashion. Medicine from a bottle, or the back alleys. Pillow talk between lovers, in that space between falling asleep and waking up, between two bodies in bed and waking up alone.

Things improved further when I moved to Sao Amador, and left behind all the reminders of all the tragedies that had beset me in RhyDin. I no long had to walk past or through the Marketplace, or the cemetery, or the old Raptis home. I was free from all the obligations of the Courts, and made my way up from retail associate to owner of my own dress boutique.

But, of course, RhyDin pulled me back in, as she must do for so many other expatriates. I let myself be smooth-talked into coming back into the city by an overly charismatic @#$hole of an elf who cut me loose in the midst of a major personal breakdown. I let myself be convinced that my fetch could not possibly be in Sao Amador anymore. I let money motivate me, more than friendship, even more than personal pride in my work. And I unleashed a new set of (figurative) nightmares into my life.

It has been nearly five years since I decided to come back, and even though I have spent large chunks of that time outside the city proper, both physically and mentally, it does not feel like RhyDin has left me the way it did when I lived in Sao Amador. It haunted me, and still haunts me, in a warped reflection of my dreams of The Lands. It is not that my senses are heightened here, no. It is the fact I suffer similar torments to my past bad dreams. Only now, my tormentors are the ones who should be protecting me, and should have protected the Raptis family. My fellow Stolen Ones hunt me down, night after night, down rain-slicked alleyways and crumbling brick roof tops, from Seaside to the Marketplace to New Haven, and every space in between. I run down the hallway of my apartment building, dimly lit in a way it never is, but I never reach my room, nor do I make it to the fire escape before I am cut down, shot in the heart, struck in the back of the head and beaten to a pulp. "Sic semper proditores,"** they whisper to me as they lower my body to the ground, into the ground, shoveling fistfuls of dirt into my face.

I still fear the Fae, but in a different way now. I fear Them the same way that I fear death. If the Gentry decide that They want me back in Arcadia, well, there is not much I can do to stop Them, so why worry about that? And besides, I have been given little indication that They are planning such an abduction. The threat from my former comrades in arms, though, is more immediate.

A little more than a year ago, I was banished, under pain of death, from RhyDin City. Three months ago, I returned in spite of my sentence. The fact of the matter is simple. Either they kill me, we find a way to peacefully coexist in this city, or they leave. Because despite everything I have suffered through here, one other fact remains. RhyDin is where my friends are, and I will be damned if I abandon them one more time.


*1 Corinthians 13:11
** "Thus always to traitors."

_________________
As they drag me to my feet
I was filled with incoherence
Theories of conspiracy
The whole world wants my disappearance
I'll go fighting nail and teeth
You've never seen such perseverance

Gonna make you scared of me
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Bailey Raptis
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 10 Feb 2013
Posts: 106
See this user's pet
Jobs: Tailor
Can Be Found: Twilight Isle
10002.84 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

July 22, 2017

I woke up with a quartet of guns pointed in my face.

"The Sandman wants to speak with you," the group's apparent leader said, his words dripping in honey. He dressed and groomed himself like a stereotypical villain from a melodrama. He wore a brown tweed three-piece suit, complete with pocket watch and chain, black top hat and cane. His moustache twirled out into a handlebar, and he wore a monocle over his left eye, the glass of which had been thickened and tinted so the eye behind it could not be seen. I might have spent more time admiring his commitment to his fashion choice, were he and his companions not levelling weapons at me.

"He could just call? Or write me a letter?" The leader, and two of his henchmen (who went for mobster chic in oversized pin-striped suits and matching gray fedoras), said nothing. The fourth man clucked his tongue, shaking his head. He had not received the memo that he should dress like a criminal. Balding, he wore a blue polo and khakis that screamed "office worker", if he were not holding a pistol. The index and middle fingers of his other hand had been pressed to his temple the entire time I had seen him, and I quickly put two and two together.

"You ensorcelled them, did you not?" I pointed at Hoodlum 1 and Hoodlum 2. Their guns did not waver, but the enchanter's grip shook. The leader nudged him with the tip of his cane.

"Don't let him distract-"

"You really think I intend you harm? I keep telling y-" Stars burst in my vision as one of the puppets cracked me in the face with the butt of his handgun. I turned my head, spitting blood onto my pillow.

"Sandman tells us you've been quite naughty, Bailey. You don't tell us when you leave the city, you don't tell us when you come back, you don't kill the Empress when we tell you to. Not only that, but then you killed Cy, Vince, and Copper."

"If you wanted to kill me, you would alr-"

"Shut up!" The outburst was punctuated by another pistolwhip. I groaned, tried to press my face against the sheets, but rough hands hoisted me up into a seated position. "And if that wasn't enough, there's this." My chief captor reached into one of his jacket pockets, pulling out a familiar sheet of bright white paper. I watched the glyphs on the flyer shift into Common, revealing the manifesto I had distributed in the city less than a month prior. "Actively fomenting rebellion? Tsk, tsk, tsk."

"That was not rebellion, that was trying to find a third way. Between your Sandman's autocracy and laziness, and the overreacting fear of the rebels in painting all non-humans with the same brush as the Fae."

"Then- Ah, Heinrik, please read this for me?" He held the paper up in front of the sorcerer, who stared at it for a moment or two before he finally, slowly, began to read.

" 'There will be...contingencies for those who try to infiltrate,' " Heinrik said in a quiet, squeaking voice. " 'Be serious, be honest, or be dead.'" He looked down, his fingers still pushed against his head. The boss folded the flyer up and returned it to his pocket.

"Now that doesn't sound very friendly, does it? In fact, it sounds suspiciously like a revolution."

"...Just get it over with," I sighed, right before both guns slammed into my face and drove me into unconsciousness.

***

July 23, 2017

The next time I woke up, I was in some sort of makeshift holding cell. I say makeshift, because the walls did not appear to be made of solid steel or brick, but sheet metal. There was also a window in the center of the wall opposite the bars that had been hastily blacked out with a tarp. It did not matter much how slipshod my prison was. I was cuffed in cold iron, and I did not know where I was.

I spent the next few minutes staring at the naked light bulb flickering, just off-center in the ceiling. I glanced back at my "bed" -- a cot with no sheets, no pillow, no blankets, just a lumpy yellowed mattress on a rickety frame. The toilet was made of some dull metal, and closer examination revealed there was no water within it. The walls and poured concrete floors were totally bare.

I turned towards the cell door, hearing heels clicking somewhere down the hall. Eventually, a woman walked into view. She was a few inches taller than me, but still likely on the average side for RhyDin women's heights. She dressed gun moll chic, with a red-and-white horizontal striped blouse, a gray skirt, and red stiletto heels. She bobbed her blonde hair and accented her dull brown eyes with purple eyeshadow. She stopped, grabbed hold of the bars with both hands, and leaned forward.

"Good day, Bailey. Or is it morning? Or night?" she asked me in a haughty, clipped tone. She rattled the bars a few times, then stepped away as I walked toward her.

"You have me at a loss. Well, you have me at a number of losses." I swung my bound hands in a circle around my body. "Let us start with the obvious question. Who are you, and where am I?"

"Mmm, no. You won't get my name, and I won't tell you where we are."

"Then why exactly are you here? Are you here to gloat? Are you here to torture me? Are you here to kill me? Are you here to bring me to the Sandman?" I rattled off the questions as fast as I could think of them.

"I'll answer in reverse order. No, no, in a manner of speaking, yes."

"...Are you here to gloat about capturing me?"

"No. That was simple."

"Well, it certainly took you long enough to catch me." My gaoler responded by tapping the bridge of her nose twice. A blinding light flashed out of her eyes, and I reflexively stumbled backwards onto my cot. After a few rapid blinks, I could at least see the general shadow of her form, if I held my hand over my eyes.

"What was that?"

"...Nothing."

"Good." I could now see her as smears of colors, and it made me nauseous. I burrowed my face into the mattress, ignoring the faint odor of mold. She did not seem to care that I was not facing her, and continued to speak. "You remember your meeting at Český Domov? I was there."

I lifted my head and glared at her. "Bull#$%."

"Oh, but I was." Her voice turned breathy, quieter, higher-pitched. She dragged each word out as she cooed at me. "You remember me, don't you, Bailey? The shy girl, the-"

"Snow Princess. You are a mirrorskin. But-"

"Your contingencies failed you." Arrogance seeped back into her tone. "They failed you, and they failed your friends."

"What did you do with them?" I did my best to growl out the words, but it was hard to intimidate with your hands fastly secured inside a jail. The faux princess laughed, tapping and scraping her long red-painted fingernails against the metal.

"They have been banished from the city. The same as you will be. And it's all. Your. Fault."

"Do-" The punishment she presented struck me dumb momentarily. "Don't I get a trial?"

"Oh, Bailey. Bailey, Bailey, Bailey." Each repetition of my name dripped with scorn. "You're from RhyDin, and yet you forget. There is no law here, but power. And the Sandman has the power here. Think about that for a while. Think about that, and your impending departure from RhyDin, and your failures, and how it's only the Sandman's mercy that keeps you alive. Think about it." She turned her back to me and walked away, the click-clack of her heels dimming as she disappeared.

***

July 25, 2017

They bought me a one-way ticket to Gruvebyen, in the far northern wastes of RhyDin, and brought along two orc guards (dressed in full leather armor with knife sheaths, naturally) for the ride. We sat in business class, all the way in the back of a a discount airship, so my guardians' elbows were perilously close to my ribs the entire trip. As if the escort was not enough, I had been handcuffed again. I tried to crack a joke I had seen on television ages ago about airline food, but either it was not funny, I told it poorly, or they just had no sense of humor. My suspicions lay with the third theory. Rather than risk further bruising to my face, I shut my mouth.

I assumed the guards would unlock my restraints once we were in the air, but they fell asleep in the middle of our takeoff. Their snores were trumpet blasts, loud and fast and unpredictable, and made even the thought of sleeping seem impossible.

Instead, I looked out the window. The guards had not pulled the shade down, so I could look outside as my city slowly floated out of view. The buildings grew smaller and smaller, like children's toys, until finally, they were fully swallowed up by white clouds. Something broke deep inside of me, brittle and sharp like glass, when I thought of never seeing RhyDin again. I felt a sob rising up but I strangled it - I didn't want to wake the orcs.

A flight attendant made her way back to our seats and offered me a drink. I held up my hands, pinned together at the wrists, and shook my head, watching as she scurried back to the galley. It took me a few tries, but I managed to pull down my tray table and rest my hands on the plastic. A few minutes later, I shut my eyes and bowed my head, resting it on the knuckles of my thumbs. For all the world, it probably looked like I was praying. Maybe I was.
_________________
As they drag me to my feet
I was filled with incoherence
Theories of conspiracy
The whole world wants my disappearance
I'll go fighting nail and teeth
You've never seen such perseverance

Gonna make you scared of me
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