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First Lady of Avalon

 
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Aurelia
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: First Lady of Avalon Reply with quote

In the wake of an unexpected but much wished for marriage, Avalon had become a hive of activity. Under Viviane's close scrutiny, the people had made their choice - some had left the isle, choosing to remain in the world outside; others had come to the isle, unwilling to live in a world where they could not reach Avalon's wonders. Between them, Elaine, Arthur, and Morgaine had decided upon the powers and abilities of Avalon's Champion and Priestess, and the two medallions the king and his sister wore had been heavily enchanted accordingly. Yet by the dawn of the third day, all decisions had been made, all movement had stilled. Despite the years that were to come between now and the fall of Camelot, Viviane had decided that this was the moment the spell should be attempted. Together with Elaine, Ian, Aurelia, Arthur and Morgaine, she made her way to the very top of the Tor that loomed over the isle of Avalon, to greet the dawn and bid farewell to the world outside for the last time.

The Lady of Avalon stood apart from the others, her decision known only to herself and one other. She had purposely kept that decision a secret, knowing that more than one among their number would object strenuously to the means by which this would be accomplished. In years to come, Avalon would be said to simply fade from the world of men, consumed by the mists that surrounded it. Viviane could only hope that her duty to the isle would be accomplished in this manner.

This was the day that Ian had both awaited and dreaded ever since their arrival. It wasn't so much the demon he was afraid of, as it was the fear of the unknown. They had planned for this moment as much as they could. It was up to Aurelia and Viviane and Elaine now, or so he believed. He was here to witness what was about to take place, but as far as Ian was concerned, he believed he had already completed the task he had been brought here to accomplish.

Morgaine and Arthur stood to one side, witnesses only to what was about to happen. The solemnity of the occasion was sobering to everyone - for the last time, Avalon was sharing the dawn with the rest of the world. If all went well, it would never again be within reach of the greed and cruelty of men.

Ian watched the sun rise over Avalon with a heavy heart. Today they would either accomplish what they'd come there to do, or more than likely, die trying. He blinked the light from his eyes, looking to Aurelia one last time, as if to burn the memory of her face into his heart and mind. He had no idea how all of this was going to turn out, though he had to believe in his heart that all would be well. He took heart in knowing that Avalon existed in the future, hidden from mortals but very real. He knew there was only one thing left he had to do and he was the only one who could do it. Ian touched the blade that Arthur had given him, drew it from the belt at his waist, and crouched down to cut the devil's trap into the very ground of Avalon.

Nearby, Aurelia stood, as still as the morning that enveloped the little group. She knew what had to be done, and it was a simple spell in itself. It was knowing that there would be a minute chance that the demon could escape them entirely that caused the tension that rippled through her body. Within her mind, she could feel the demon clawing for some weakness already, desperate to avoid what was in store for it should everything go to plan. Aurelia's hands twisted together at her waist, her fingers obsessively twisting the wedding band around her finger as she recalled the spell over and over in her mind, her dark eyes on Ian as he worked to create the trap in which they would enclose the demon.

He had not told her what the plan was, not in detail anyway, nor had he told her what to expect, as they could not chance the demon finding out what they planned for it. He had not explained what the devil's trap was for and had no idea whether Aurelia knew what it was, but he could hope that the demon did not. It took some time to scratch the shape out in the dirt, and he could feel the sun warming his back as it slowly rose in the sky, as if to mock him. When he was finally finished, he moved to his feet and stepped back a pace to examine his handiwork. It had to be perfect or it wouldn't work. Nothing could be missing, and the circle couldn't be broken. "That's it," he said, in his quietly-raspy voice. "It's done."

"Then it is time," Viviane said, and in her quiet tone was a finality none of them were comfortable to hear.

Aurelia raised her head, pausing just a moment to kiss Ian softly. "When this is over, do not trust that it is me until I tell you my name," she told him firmly, gripping his hand. "If I cannot do that, then I must be killed. Promise me, Ian. I have no wish to kill anyone again."

Ian returned the dagger to the sheath at his waist, frowning sourly at Aurelia. The knife had felt strange in his hand, though all he'd done with it was carve a circle in the ground inside which were carved strange symbols none there understood but him. He wasn't a knight or a wizard; he was just a simple scholar, nothing more. He gripped Aurelia's hand tightly, as though he didn't want to let go, his heart beating hard in his chest. He knew it was fear he was feeling - fear that something would go wrong and that he'd lose her forever - but he had to believe this would work. Otherwise, how had Avalon become hidden in the future? "I wish I'd thought to find out how this place became hidden before we came here," he murmured. "You won't, Ree. Everything's going to be all right," he promised her as he touched a kiss to her lips.

"This, we will soon find out," she agreed softly. Viviane called her name, and she turned to stand with the Lady and Elaine, as Arthur and Morgaine moved to flank Ian. The three women joined hands, closing their eyes, and for a long moment, it seemed as though nothing was happening. Then, quite suddenly, Aurelia ripped her hands from Elaine and Viviane's, staring at the two women in horror. "No, I will not allow that!"

Ian stood nearby, watching as Viviane and Elaine and Aurelia joined hands. He wasn't quite sure what was going on exactly or what to expect, but he did know what Viviane had planned, and for the life of him, he couldn't think of a better way. She had lived a long life, all of it dedicated to Avalon. It seemed fitting she should die this way, and he had a feeling she was ready. It wasn't until Aurelia voiced her vehement opposition that Ian realized he was going to have to step in and convince her that this was the only way.

He moved over to Aurelia, touching her arm gently as he leaned close to try and reassure her. "Ree, it's all right. She knows what she's doing. This is the only way." It became apparent from his words that he'd already known of Viviane's plans but had been unable to tell her for fear the demon would learn of it along with Aurelia and do something to thwart their plans to both be rid of her and save Avalon.
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Aurelia
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Posts: 130
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Can Be Found: Huntingdon, PA
9771.16 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"But the risk," Aurelia protested, her eyes widening just a little as she realized that this had been the plan all along. "Holding the demon is more than simply enclosing it within, it is securing the cage, devoting a part of your mind and soul to holding that cage closed, it is ... To give it access to the Lady's power is foolish!"

He frowned, even now unable to tell her the whole plan. "Aurelia, do you trust me?" he asked her point blank. He knew what Viviane would do once she had the demon inside her - he knew she would pass the power to Elaine, leaving the demon weak inside her - but he still could not tell her that. She would simply have to trust them.

"You know I trust you," she promised him, her fear stark in her eyes as she looked up at him, grateful at least that no one had chosen to try and help him as he talked her through this. "But this is something I cannot explain. It is such a risk, Ian."

"I know," he replied softly, touching his fingers to her cheek. "But this is the only way, love. I've been to Avalon in the future. I've been through the mists. What we do here today will keep Avalon safe for eternity. The Lady knows what she's doing. I know what she's doing. You just have to trust us. It's the only way."

She stared up at him, wanting to believe him, trying to ignore the crowing delight from the demon in the back of her mind, both of them sure that this was going to be a disaster. But Aurelia did trust Ian, and though she disliked Viviane, she believed the woman knew herself and her own power well enough. It certainly explained why Elaine had been included in the opening of the spell, anyway. Slowly, reluctantly, she nodded, unable to force the frown from her face, turning to rejoin Viviane and Elaine. This time, she gave the two women a gentle tug, drawing the three of them into the trap Ian had so painstakingly cut on the turf. No sense in taking chances, after all.

If they were wrong, it would spell disaster for them all and for all of Avalon, but Ian had stopped doubting. He had stopped going over it in his head and had decided to follow his heart. Thus far, his heart had not led him astray. His heart had once led him to Avalon and then to Aurelia. He didn't believe any of this was coincidence. All of it had happened for a reason, as if it was meant to happen, as if some higher power had led the way. He stepped back into place as Aurelia rejoined the Lady of Avalon and the one who would take her place. He wasn't sure exactly what Viviane had planned, and he, too, could only trust in her judgment.

For those who stood in witness, it seemed as though nothing was happening. Yet for the three who stood in communion with one another in the center of that carefully cut trap, it was almost overwhelming. It was only when Aurelia felt the faint pressure from Elaine's meager store of power that she realized what the true plan was, and with that confidence came a renewed sense that this would work. Drawing in a deep breath, she began the painstaking work of unshackling the demon from her mind, the cage kept intact but no longer tied to herself. Viviane's power swept into her, assisting in the painful breaking of a merging that had been formed when she was conceived, both female minds ignoring the snarling threat from the enclosed beast as it realized what was happening.

As the last of those bonds came free, Aurelia swayed, shocked by the loss of something that had always been a part of her, no longer anything but a conduit for the next part of the plan. Without needing to be told, Elaine pushed with all the strength she had available to her, forcing the caged demon from Aurelia's mind and body and into the invitation of Viviane's form. The beast went willingly, clearly believing it had some chance to take over, and for the briefest moment, it was visible in the air between witch and Lady, a bestial thing with black skin and red eyes, long claws snatching at the silvery shackles that bound it. Then it was gone, absorbed into Viviane's being, and for the smallest of agonizing moments, it seemed as though the plan might fail, after all. But a sudden rush of golden light slammed from Viviane into Elaine, and Avalon itself shuddered, as the Lady passed on what made her so great to the successor she had groomed for years.

In a last effort before the demon took over, Viviane wrenched her hands from those of Elaine and Aurelia and pushed them both bodily from the circle of the trap, succumbing to the demon's triumphant possession as both the freed witch and the new Lady of Avalon fell heavily to the grass, each shocked to the heart by what they had just experienced.

Ian stood in witness with Arthur and Morgaine by his side - Champion and Priestess and Loremaster - one triad in witness of another. He struggled against the fear and horror that seized his heart when the demon became visible, if only for a moment. Had they made a mistake? Had they miscalculated? If they were wrong, he'd blame no one but himself but letting it happen. He was the Loremaster - he was supposed to know what he was doing. And then there was a rush of golden light, blinding in its beauty, and Viviane was pushing the other two women away from herself and the demon that had possessed her and out of the circle that held them trapped, at least for the moment.

"Aurelia!" Ian shouted, rushing forward to cradle her in his arms and make sure she was still breathing. Beside him, Arthur had done the same for Elaine.

As Viviane fell to her knees, her own stern beauty giving way to the ugly tattoos and lengthened claws that marked the demon's possession of her form, Aurelia gasped in Ian's arms, her fingers gripping his sleeve as he cradled her. Close by, Elaine was shaking where she lay, supported by Arthur and Morgaine. Neither woman seemed to have been harmed, but the sheer violence of what had just occurred had shaken them both beyond anything they could have imagined. The passing of Avalon's power had never happened before; neither had the dispossession of a demon born merged with a human within the same form. Aurelia gazed up at Ian, trying to make sense of the quiet in her mind and soul, struggling to calm her breathing before she passed out from that shock.

"Lady," Arthur was saying as Morgaine gently brushed Elaine's hair from her face. "Are you well? Is it done?"

For a long moment, there was silence. Then Elaine spoke, and in her voice was the power of Avalon, however gentle her tone. "It is done," she agreed softly, looking over to where Ian cradled Aurelia. "Is she harmed?"

Most of Ian's attention was focused on Aurelia, though he was aware of the others nearby, as well as the demon-possessed former Lady of Avalon caught within the circle. He pushed Aurelia's hair back from her face, searching her eyes for any hint of the demon, and then searching her body for any sign of injury. "No, I don't think so," he replied, looking looking back to her face, as he cradled her in his arms. "Aurelia, love... Are you all right?"
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Aurelia
Young Wyrm
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the first time since he had known her, there was only Aurelia looking back at him from the dark eyes he had learned so well. Perhaps he had never truly been aware of the demon's presence in her gaze, but now it was not there. For the first time in her life, her body was her own. Shaken from the painful ordeal, she shook her head to assure them all that she was all right. "I ... I am well, Ian," she promised him. "We should do the spell while she is trapped."

He nodded his head, breathing a slow sigh of relief. All he saw in her eyes was his Aurelia, but then, demon or not, she was all he'd ever seen. She was all he'd ever loved or wanted or needed. He could not argue with her resolve, and he had to smile a little at her stubborn courage as he helped her find her feet, letting her lean on him as much as she needed or wanted. His part in this was done, as far as he knew. It was up to Aurelia and Elaine now.

Slowly, carefully, Arthur and Morgaine helped Elaine to her feet as Ian drew Aurelia up, both women needing to hold onto those with them. They had not considered how the precursor to the spell might affect them physically, both relieved that it would not be their strength needed for the spell. At a quiet word from Elaine, Morgaine took the small pouch from Aurelia's belt and moved to place the five clear quartz crystals at the logical points on the edge of the trap in which the demon snarled and hissed, backing away with a pale face as the woman she had known all her life as Viviane spat curses at her, promising painful retribution for what was about to be done.

Gripping Ian's hand, Aurelia concentrated, drawing the words of the spell she had created up in her mind once again. "By fire, by water, by earth and by air; by powers above us, for mortal man's care; with the strength born of evil, let the mists now grow bright; to protect what is sacred from mortal man's sight; Bring Avalon safe behind locked portal door; hidden now in the mists and for ever more."

As the spell wound itself through the crystals, crackling light arced up from each to take hold of the being trapped within the circle, pulsing brightly as the demon's own energy, her own power, was drained from her to fulfill the words of the spell that had been spoken. The ground beneath them seemed to vibrate gently, and from the valley below came the sonorous sound of the Abbey bell tolling of its own accord. Within the town, the people sat in their homes, each aware of the magic that was at hand, yet obedient to the will of the Lady who had ordered them not to venture forth.

On the Tor, the five who watched were the only witnesses as the mists rose from the lake that surrounded the isle of Avalon, swirling and thickening, sweeping over every last inch of the sacred place. A heavy wind blew, whispering of secrets as yet unknown even to the most learned among them, sweeping the mists aside, and with them, Avalon faded from view. When it was done, all that remained was a green valley - no lake, no isle, no sign that Avalon had ever existed. Just the Tor, and the six who had climbed it to fulfill their task.

Ian held fast to Aurelia, if only to offer his own strength and support while she worked the spell, drawing on the demon's power to move Avalon past the mist and into a place where it would be safe from men for ever more. For all the time he'd spent in Avalon over the last few days, he had not seen much magic, not until now. He had gone on faith alone, believing in the legends and myths he had spent an entire life studying and believing in the woman who had captured his heart. "It's gone," he whispered, in awe of what had just happened, but a little sad, too. Would he ever be permitted to see it again?

But there was little time to grieve Avalon's departure from the world. As the last of the demon's very being was siphoned from within her, Viviane collapsed in the center of the devil's trap, no longer possessed, no longer a being of great power, her dark hair now wholly white as the long years of her life descended upon her. Elaine let out a sob as she abandoned Arthur and Morgaine to throw herself down beside her beloved mentor, cradling the ancient woman in her arms.

Ian looked to Aurelia with a small frown, his heart aching for the loss of life, but knowing it had been a life well lived and a sacrifice well made. "This was the Lady's choice," he said quietly to no one in particular. "It is because of her that Avalon is safe." He moved forward to join Elaine, tugging Aurelia after him. Perhaps it wasn't his place to do so, and yet, he felt compelled. He knelt down on the other side of her and took one of her frail hands in his. "It is done, Lady. All of Avalon is in your debt."

Struggling for each breath, Viviane smiled up at the tearful young woman she had groomed to succeed her, one gnarled hand touching Elaine's face tenderly. "You are the Lady now," she said, her voice rasping painfully with each word. "May Avalon thrive, as she would not have done with me." As Elaine wept, inconsolable at the loss of such a dear friend, Viviane turned her now rheumy eyes to Ian as he took her hand, weak yet finally at peace with herself. "My thanks to you, Loremaster of Avalon. Do not let them forget what was done here today. You have saved us. Any debt ... has already been paid."

He found his own eyes misty with tears, his raspy voice ragged with emotion as he answered her with sober conviction. "I will not let them forget any of it. I swear," he assured her as he took her hand between his two, kneeling beside her like a devoted son to his mother, reminded of his mother's death and finding the irony in it. "It was an honor to know you, Lady. I will never forget."

The old woman who had once been the first Lady of Avalon smiled once again, her burden finally lifted from her shoulders. There were no more words as she breathed her last, falling gently to her eternal sleep in the arms of the new Lady of Avalon. Myth and legend in the centuries to come would speak of the isle as a place of magic and mystery, yet they would never truly know how wonderful Avalon had been. The sacred isle had faded from the world of men, and with that fading, Viviane had left the world of her own accord, yet no one would remember it. Only these five - the Lady, the Champion, the Priestess, the Loremaster, and the witch - only they would ever know the true sacrifice that had been made to protect that which had always been, and now would always be.

As the sun rose over the Tor, and the empty valley where once the brightest jewel of Britain's crown had stood, all that could be heard was the soft sigh of the breeze as it carried away the last mortal sigh of Avalon's first protector. She had labored long, and suffered much, and at the end, had given up her own life to see the isle safe for the eternity to come. And though the mortal world would forget her, there would always be a place beyond the mists for Viviane, the first Lady of Avalon.

((That was fun! Stay tuned to see Ian and Aurelia sent home, and the fall out when Rhys finds out where they've been! And humungus awesomsaucy thanks to my writing partner for indulging my rhetoric in this scene!))
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