Half the size of a regular tome, this small journal seems as full of scraps of paper and notes as it does pages. It is covered in an old fox pelt. The writing within it is flowing and well practiced. There are doodles in the margins of each entry.
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
I sit in the darkness of the tombs, my small candle sending a flickering of lights dancing across the visage of the stone queen and the sleeping form of the man whose warmth I just left. It was thoughts of another man that had woken me, though, the healing of another wound. I found no pain in taking the pastel sunset bracelet from my wrist, nor in weaving the silken strands into the spider web around my throat -no pain, only a lifting of guilt. I'd have loved you forever if you'd let me - but I'd have also never loved the way that I do now. The freedom his words brought me was enough to dispel any knock to my ego.
Quiet breathing lulled me as I wove, my fingers moving over the charms dangling from the threads - each one a past love. For a moment my fingers paused upon the sword-forged ring, the tip of my finger slipping inside the smooth circle - the flicker of flame bouncing off the crystal diamonds. A full span of cycles has now passed since we stood before our friends at the roses and promised each other forever. But love born in the chaos of war could not survive the quiet that comes with peace. There is no pain in it any longer, both of us having moved on to new lives, new loves, a different person to lose ourselves and worries in. And so now the ring lays trapped, dangling in my web with the others.
I look again at my now sleeping lover, and then to the delicate carved ring that rests on my finger. A ring carved of soap. I remember with the other ring I wanted it forged sturdy, wrapping promises around my finger, This ring is the opposite, one I must constantly guard - a ring I can never forget. Sometimes I fear it all a dream, I imagine myself still locked high within Farsight Tower, sleeping away my madness.
It came so suddenly, a drowning that happened so quickly even I did not have time to run from it. And since that first kiss every moment, waking and sleeping, has been spent in the warmth of his presence. We wander the world together, exploring as we wish, sleeping where we find shelter. The world is ours to drink up. A posted grid of challenges gave us a purpose to the wandering when we wished.
First we found a tree to decorate, I took him to an old haunt. I had some notion of taking him to them all - as if she could get to know him that way, and he could get to know her through the places we had loved together. Perhaps somewhere in me I hoped that we would find her there, a crouching form in the darkness dreaming. We did not. We left her a tree trimmed in spider silk and silver rings though - the ice from the waterfall adding to our decorations
The songs came next, a hunting to find those special places in the land where the touch of Kane still lingers. We played hide and seek within the hunt, me leading him to the creators and him taking refuge within the temple sky. Topaz brought us to the mirror-dark Caer and we spent some marcs with the dead minstrel, weaving stories. We chased each other to the top of Altitan, got lost in each other's touch in the depths of Aldwythe and I cried within his arms at the roses.
Viviyana posted @ 21:23 - Link
Saturday, 23 September 2017
This is proving harder than I thought. Damn him for being so very likeable.
Viviyana posted @ 09:49 - Link
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Fear. I haven’t tasted it in awhile now. I suppose a reminder is good. It is good to know there are still things, people…well a person, that I fear losing. Like precious secrets, those little bubbles of life that should be held so very, very carefully. But now the more precious the moment, the more paralyzed with fear I become. I know I will ruin it, I ruin everything. I know there will come a point where my guard is down, where my darkness will shine through and the bubble will pop. I will see the humor become irritation and eye-rolls. The warmth of his regard will chill as he builds walls within to protect himself. I’ve danced to this tune before.
Even with the inevitability of it, the knowledge that there will come a turn when I will mess up and we will have to part ways…I still crave his company. I don’t even know how to describe it save for obsession. My skin itches for his touch, my ears strain for the sound of his voice. I keep looking over expecting to see him. I wish so strongly to be the girl that would teach him love. I daydream of some different reality where I was still a giggling girl capable of that. So sure in myself and my lovability…in the lovability of others. She has been broken though, that girl I was. I try to hate them, every mouth that spoke cruel words to cut her, every person who used her desire for belonging for reasons all their own - used it to keep her in line, used it to make her a puppet. Only to reject her when there was no further use. I can’t hate them though, ultimately it was me who let them do it.
So I can’t be that girl, not for longer than a few precious moments. Moments that make him smile or laugh. Moments I lengthen for as long as I can, pushing myself to hold the rest at bay. Each time the fear grows, though. Each time the cracks start showing deeper in my facade. Showing another ones true self is never easy, especially when you are a murderess and a monster. It is more merciful for us both if I cut him out. He won’t know it, but in the long run he would have thanked me. No, I will carve a wall around this one treasured bubble. Just one beautiful moment, untainted. Something to take solace in when the swirling darkness comes again.
Viviyana posted @ 04:44 - Link
Tuesday, 05 September 2017
To have wings once more. It is like standing on the precipice of a tower, looking out over the vast expanse of sky and land below. Dare I step off, trusting my wings to catch me, to carry me far beyond even my dreamings? Or do I stay safely on the stone beneath my feet, secure in all that I’ve ever known. Can I take the ones I love with me should I choose to fly?
I feel, at times, as if a battle has forever been waging within me. To fly, or to walk. Something within burns to soar, to unleash myself and become whatever woman I am meant to be - for good and bad. Yet each time I find the courage, each time I find my wings - I likewise find a way to clip them. Often lately I find myself touching the pastel sunset that encases my wrist. He taught me of flying and wants, of all the different ways to touch and how to love and be loved. He painted wings upon my back and I used them to soar away from him, some desperate mad flight of selfishness. And even that he did not begrudge me. Yet even then I but flew to another cage, perched myself upon a safe branch.
So now I’ve a chance to once more try, free of expectations and bonds. Just a chance to be, to be whatever spills from me. To follow whatever current comes my way. But will I dare? Or will my fear keep me grounded and my selfishness keep me caged?
Viviyana posted @ 10:56 - Link
Saturday, 26 August 2017
To play again. To find easy laughter and joy in the trading of words and silliness. I’d thought it long gone, ripped from me by so much darkness and bitterness. But at some point the facade of smiling became more real than act. And once again the playfulness inside of me awoke. She is dusty after so long in silence, but the fire within her grows. And with her awakening other passions return as well,. Freedom and ease and power like old friends come to call again.
It is strange to think that just a cycle past I dwelt in a loneliness so deep and fearsome I felt beyond drowning. Like a lifeless body left suspended in its cool embrace. And now so many have come to fill the void. Old friends with their familiarity and comfort, playful friends with their antics and eagerness, mysterious friends with their hints at stories and even a shivery friend to make my blood sing once more. It has always been thus though, the highest of times follow the deepest of despairs and then cycle around once more. But this time I will ignore the voice that whispers that I’ve been like this before, that I’ve felt like this before, that all will crumble in the end - like dust, like dust.
He knew, I think, the legacy he would leave us all - beyond the demons that still linger in Ryn. Like his final curse upon the land. But in this, too, we proved stronger than him. Time heals all they say, and perhaps it is true for the air feels different of late - as if the land awakens with me.
I’ve spent some marcs now in an attempt to compile my notes and writing into tomes, so much history that I fear to lose. So much information that seemed so vital and now will just be footnotes in the happening of things. Yet still, history is a treasure I’ve always collected and valued above most anything else. It is time, I suppose, to try and pass it along for those who will come after.
Viviyana posted @ 18:31 - Link
Monday, 14 August 2017
He keeps dragging out things long forgotten, my sewing kit, cross-stitch, flight. Also memories, the long ago ones from childhood, half-remembered lyrics to songs sung in a scratchy voice in the dark and the soft touch of my nurse. Liesel. I remember her as old, but she mustn’t have been, for I remember too her stories of the children who awaited her at home. Children my age, that her sister raised as she raised me. Children I was never to meet, and oddly resented.
I do not often think of my childhood. I dismiss it with a mere brush of my mind lest the dwelling and festering start. But now this, memories that warm and make me smile. It was her who gave me a love of reading, and tarts. Hers were the only arms to bring me a sense of true safety, that unwavering trust in an adult only a child can have. And suddenly, that glimmering has become all consuming. I can feel it reaching forward through the ages between, once more warming me. Good memories that seem to swell, consuming most of the bad.
I was nine when she was replaced, when the long stream of governesses took her place. I hadn’t known, one turn she was there to wake and help me dress and the next a lady’s maid had taken her place. I don’t even think I cried, simply boxed it up with all the rest and shoved it deep within me. I am sure I used it a time or two to grow my hatred of my parents, but little more. Details of her life, her life apart from me are sadly lacking. Who was she? And more important, what has become of her life? I would seek her out, but am loath to enlist the help of my mother. And, if I am to be honest with myself - I am fearful that the answers or woman I find might pop this precious little bubble I’ve found. That sense that perhaps I was special in her eyes, perhaps she loved me.
My laughter comes far easier now, what started as farce, a lie of happiness and healing - slowly becomes truth. The Dragger of Memories spoke also of time, precious time. He spoke of ones we would linger within. Treasured moments that we would still the spinning of things for. And so I’ve started a game with myself, picking through the good things - looking for that perfect moment. It brings that same kind of warmth that Liesel does.
Viviyana posted @ 08:14 - Link
Monday, 31 July 2017
The young warrior is relentless, each turn forcing me from my solitude, making me pull from my melancholy for long enough to form words. I suppose I forgive him for taking my wine, him with his easy smile. My thoughts drift back further, to all the carefree times I’ve had. The silly laughter and games used to come so easily. And oddly, in the midst of so much sadness, so much angst…I want only that.
And so, I’m done…I will get her back, I will get it all back….hopefully, eventually. But at least I will try.
Viviyana posted @ 14:39 - Link
Friday, 28 July 2017
I wandered the streets of Ryn once more, assessing the damage. They are still there, they decorate tables and hang dangling from meat hooks, their blood seeps up through the cracks in the stone beneath my feet. And the children, stuffed and ready. I wondered who might still be hanging onto lingering hope for their return, what arms were missing holding them, what mother weeps where no one else can hear her. I still remember the child’s cry in N’rolav, the night the guard rose. I remember the wave of darkness that turned me into dust when I looked for her. Perhaps she is here now in this silent rotting place, waiting for someone to take her home, lay her to rest.
I sat with my vat for a time, wondering if I could make another me. An improved me, one that is not so easily cast aside. The half-formed defiled me stares up blindly, she wears a smile like mine used to be. I know the mockery behind it, Silly girl, she seems to say, Did you really believe he’d love the real you? No, I suppose I always knew, just borrowed happiness and borrowed time. The winding down of another’s love is such a helpless feeling. He always was too good for me.
I returned to Strife, the very walls seem to reject me. I’ve loved this place since I was an initiate, sneaking my way through the pass to dance on the tower top. But as I have learned, loving something or someone is not enough to assure love in return. All the old insecurities return. That desperate need to prove myself to those who only sought to change me. For the me that I was wasn’t good enough. I wonder if any save for myself miss her, that giggling girl who danced in shadows.
Viviyana posted @ 22:59 - Link
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
He pulled me from the dark whirling place once again, perhaps shining has nothing to do with his armor after all. I wanted to hate him for it, so uncomfortable to need something, anything, from another. But I find that I can not hate him, I’ve never been able to. He offered me no absolution, no phrases of doing what needed to be done, or shifting of blame to others. He saw as well that there had been another way. He let me own my guilt and shame, and pulled me out anyway.
The way to the risen temple went past Jeffery’s door, and we could have gone on past as well. But we didn’t. I didn’t. I hunted him out, in the name of my gods - and my beliefs. I can not even call it a battle, he only managed one feeble strike against me. I pleaded with him as I killed him, but he refused to relent - and so did I. With his death came the realization that I murdered him with the same mindless faith that he had been fighting me. And then that thought that always lingers, in Drakon’s world, this never would have happened. And another revelation, if Drakon was fallible, could be wrong, could lie. So too could my gods.
My ring sits in a box in my chest, I’ve never once taken it off since Cordelia gave it to me, but it feels wrong to wear it. What manner of protector kills their own people?
Viviyana posted @ 10:19 - Link
Sunday, 23 July 2017
Humanity’s darkest marc. The empty town stands testament to our sins. I truly am a monster, and the gods lie.
Viviyana posted @ 16:09 - Link
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Trapped, exposed, vulnerable. Only men would wish to discuss emotions at such at time as this. Each time I think I’ve buried the hurt he rips the stitches I’ve carefully sewn to hold me together open. They had their moment of brotherly bonding as I stood there silently hemorrhaging, pain pouring out to pool around me unseen, tears of rage rising like bile to catch in my throat. I wanted so badly to scream, to throw things - to release it all like poison to consume them. I wanted the fire inside me to burn, burn everything. I’ve never been so grateful for all of Tatiyana’s teachings. Would you have been proud Mother, as I drank it all down deep inside me with sips of sparkling wine? Would the perfect smile upon my lips as they discussed my pain and shame around me and before me please you? Planning and war and duty came at last to save me, letting me escape into the beauty and organized chaos of it all. It always does, my salvation. Perhaps I can not live in a time of peace, I’d take a thousand battles before the harm this peace has brought with it. All the more reason to contain the bronzed god.
Viviyana posted @ 11:50 - Link
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
The spiders come easier now, I can kill many now before their poison drains me to where I must drink potions. I found an orange crystal, the dim glow filling the corners and recesses of the lair with an almost bronze tinted hue. Did she I wonder? The bronzed mimicry of myself. The defiled beauty - broken. Did these same passageways shimmer with that light as she fed on my sister with sweet words and a kiss? I traded the orange for a scroll and tucked it with the rest in my bank. Ancient knowledge that I shall likely never wield. My collection of blessings like the thin strands of an impossible dream. They sit in my bank, collecting dust, I don’t know why.
I found another treasure in the dark of a different haunt, acceptance nestled amongst the queens. Sigarni named her Treasure once, so long ago now that the memory holds nothing but sweetness. Memories of a time free from all that came after, when I’d yet to learn of the lessons life brings. It was good to be in her presence once more, to not have to be on guard, or worried that if I show my true self the person will leave. They always leave, but not her.
I think I envy most those who do not dwell, those who forge on in life, brushing away the past like leaves fallen from autumn trees. I do not. I dwell in things - letting them whirl around and through me over and over again. Each passings stokes the fires for good or ill. There is madness in it, I know. But it feels. So. Damn. Good. It is a balm I use to comfort myself when the loneliness sets in, a trick I use to warm myself against the ice, a shield.
Viviyana posted @ 20:12 - Link
Sunday, 16 July 2017
There are so many seasons to a soul, and so many tastes to each one. This one reminded me of an early spring ice storm, the kind that coats the world in a shimmery shield. It is always a gamble, will the new life in its embrace die, or will it struggle through - strong enough to survive and then thrive from the melting waters? So even as summer sit hot and heavy upon the land I felt this coldness coating me, but also too the life just waiting for the thaw.
I think of my mother often of late, but still do not make my way to see her. She wrote me of my father’s passing some cycles ago, I’d done the dutiful thing and gone. I was surprised at the sorrow I felt inside her, under her own icy exterior - I felt surprise at the lack of sorrow in me. I felt pride, oddly, at the way she transcended that sorrow, focusing instead on holding onto his trade empire and their interests. She said I would understand her one turn, at the time it felt like a curse - but more and more I find myself resorting to her same tactics, the ones she taught so well through example. I doubt I will see her again in this life.
Did she love deeply behind her shield? Was she once as vibrant as I used to be, as passionate. I know now how time can whittle a person down. I know what it is to feel used, betrayed, and abandoned. All lessons collected here and there in the course of this thing we call life. Each lesson added another layer to the shield of ice, even my mannerisms become more like hers. I can feel my mouth forming the same perfect smiles or words. I used to keep the ice at bay with so much fire inside me, but then fire can burn and kill just the same as ice can.
I spend many marcs in the tower I’ve come to think of as mine. I warm myself by Miranda’s hearth, or curl up safe within her furs and pelts. I puzzle over the colored stones and balls in Zeric’s room. I try to move the balls about with my mind. I can’t. I drift for endless marcs in the waters of the argent and have taken over the bronze’s desk as my own. But mostly I lay upon Kane's stage, ears straining for ghosting of his music, desperate for the brush of wind across my face. I wonder at the tower's purpose, did they ever reside here, did anyone? Was it built to be empty? There IS a sense of waiting here. I do not know if we will ever know, I do not even know if it is our right to know.
Other times I spend with the queens, I bring them blossoms when I’ve got them. I wonder at their stories, the lives and lessons given them. It saddens me that only their goodness is immortalized in stone, their flaws - the things that made them human - left out of them. So easy to simplify people, or memories of people, rather. My mind turns often to Balthazar, was he too once convinced he did the right thing for the world? Did his spiral towards evil begin with the best of intentions, with a simple vision of a new and perfect world?
Memories hang heavy in both places, and within me. I dwell too frequently within the last three years. I recall the giggling girl that I can still be on occasion, I remember her dancing in the shadows and spinning stories from the air. I remember the reckless woman, the curious one who braved fire and lost herself in the beyond dark. The one who sought dark enchantments and found visions of bronze instead. Who pulled him through stone, who lured him through sound and sevens. Who worked so endlessly to draw others in. It is easy to hate the ones who took him from me, who kept me from him. Far harder to keep compassion in mind, I am my mother’s daughter after all. Once used, twice shy. But then, I suppose in the end I should be grateful for their greed. It made casting him off so easy. It made hiding my guilt easier still.
More and more though the ice thaws, that fresh green life unfurling once more. Slowly laughter comes again, giggles. I remember those I love, who still love me. I recall each kindness each time someone managed to surprise me with the goodness inside. I find purpose in things once more, and joy, and righteous anger to sustain me. I feel needed once more, the threats to the land building as a new power steps forward to fill the void left with Balthazar's death. My theories and ideas flourish once more. New faces bring the hope and renewal that only they can, my long lost desire to let them within growing. And behind it all I still feel that fire burning, growing to dance within me. I had thought another could save me, that the goodness in him would carry me through my own darkness. It couldn't. Some journeys we must make alone. I can only hope I've arrived at the other side of it, and that in truth a new season has begun.
Viviyana posted @ 23:50 - Link
Thursday, 19 March 2015
It is a cycle for hunting. We comb through the rock and soil in search of clues. And for me another hunt, as well. I hunt the dark places, the quiet places, places of solace. I hunt the high places, the wild places, the desolate places. I hunt forgotten beaches and realms beyond our own. I even search the crowds, my eyes hopping from face to face in my relentless quest for her. Did she sink into her dreaming? Did her feet wander her away? Did the Bronze consume her? I catch glimpses of her tracks sometimes, although they could be wishful thinking. She remains as illusive as ever.
A new colored cloak wraps my shoulders now. Blue trimmed and heavy in responsibility. So very much to do.
Viviyana posted @ 05:21 - Link
Tuesday, 03 March 2015
Information finally brought me back to Valorn's shores. Or the need for information, rather. I simply did not have enough for what I was working on. Back I stepped through the doorway and back to the RoK's stone tower. I had some notion of staying to collect only what I needed and then retreating again to lose myself in solitude and study. Fate intervened in the form of a funeral. For an outfit of clothing. I stood there in Dundee Center and remembered a time when I would have joined in such revelry...if not started it. A time when I would have thrown myself into the absurdity of it all and not just stood back, pure politeness keeping me there. And then Cenny sang and my reserve began to slip.
I believe it was Ravi, or perhaps Asante who asked if I would host the wake. So strange to not remember exactly who provided me a way back to myself. But I accepted and soon found myself swept along in that same light-hearted foolery that had been such a part of who I was. And every time I felt the need to leave..to flee and fight it, there was Loki and his murmured words.
And then the cape attacked. And I slipped off to the throne room, a habit so ingrained in me it was impossible to resist. And there was a seal breaker and corrupted knight. And suddenly that part of me surged to life as well. Then suddenly, in some strange way, I finally achieved a balance within myself.
Thank you Stormy Sunset, you will forever hold a place in my fondest regard.
Viviyana posted @ 09:38 - Link
Sunday, 22 February 2015
I brushed the stray strands from my face and shoulders and trimmed up my new hair. The sides and back were short, not even brushing against my ears. I had left the top a bit longer for style, letting the front brush high over my forehead, though still well out of my eyes. I loved it. I felt lighter, free. My eyes seemed larger and I stared at them in the looking glass for awhile. My ears seemed larger as well, seemed to protrude a bit from my head. I loved them too. I hurriedly finished brushing hair from my formal toga and myself, assuring I looked impeccable. I grabbed up the garnets Conner had gifted me with and secured them around my wrist. As the Rifter washed the room in shades of copper, Conner came to collect me for breakfast. I yanked open the door at his knock and twirled happily, a small giggle escaping. He froze in shock, before silently turning to shut the door and turning again to face me.
“Viviyana, what did you do? It was just starting to grow back.” Angry Conner was a new sight, I am sure he had been angry the night I slipped him the purgative...but had been too busy trying not to die to really let me see the full effect. This Conner's jaw clenched, and his eyes raked over me disapprovingly.
“That is why I cut it again, obviously, it is a bother when it is long, it gets in my eyes. You don't like it?” and just like that I felt depleted, though not for long.
“Viviyana, when are you going to grow up and stop acting the child? Really, if you would take the time to comb your hair and style it up, it wouldn't get in your eyes. Instead you spend your marcs on the gods alone know what.” he swept his hand towards the parchments tucked in my pack, my plans and ideas.
Rage enveloped me. In the past my anger had always been a quick one, burning fierce and extinguishing fast. But over the past few cycles a new anger had grown inside me. The kind that buries itself right below the skin, the kind that becomes a constant companion. Always present but always tightly contained. It had fed itself over the cycles, consuming almost all my play, my giggles, my dancing. Now it woke and surged up through me, for a tick I thought of Synvasti, of the fiercely controlled power of the enchanter. And with a blink, a click, I let it out.
Whatever Conner saw in my face caused him to take a half-step backwards, my words retreated him another. “Leave. Now.” I bit off, jabbing a finger at the door The silly man didn't take my advice and began to speak. I will never know what he sought to say, what words he thought would contain that which he had unleashed. I cut his words off as cleanly as I had cut my hair. “I am done. Done being contained and changed and controlled.” I closed the distance between us, as he retreated further towards the door, reaching back to open it. I raged on, “Done having others think they can dictate my ideas, my mind, my voice.” He stepped out and I took hold of the door. “Good-bye, Conner.” I said, the only words I had spoken not seething with anger, but firm none the less, and final. I shut the door with a satisfying crash.
I returned to the looking glass, ripping the strand of garnets from my wrist as I went, sending droplets of stones, like blood, scattering across the floor. My toga was next, discarded on the floor. I stood for a moment, chest rising and falling as I looked at the woman reflected back to me. I saw what those I face in battle saw, the determination and the power. I had betrayed her, handed her over to others keeping time and time again. I had sought to stifle her, lessen her. Traded away her laughter and joy like trinkets. But that too was done. There were things I had to do, darkness and bronze and demons. And with that clarity that comes in true anger's wake I knew that this was the person I was. And the anger melted away, shed from me like water. And the woman in the looking glass smiled.
This realization was quickly followed by the one that I was standing unclothed in front of the wide open arched windows staring at myself in the mirror and I dashed to drop the curtains. Typical. Shaking my head I giggled as I dug my Robe of Miranda from my pack and pulled it around me. Then I gathered up my fallen hair and wove it into a thick braid, I sent it off by courier to my Mother. I pulled Butterfly from her pouch and my stack of parchments from my pack. I flopped down on the bed, belly down, and spread the parchments around me. And did what I always do in these moments, sank myself back into work.
Viviyana posted @ 03:30 - Link
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Dreams had found me again in the night, dreams of fire. Not the Dark Fire that so often haunted them but the fire at the Traveler's Rest. Standing helpless while those I held dearest burned alive. Always, the dream ended with that memory of searing pain, the demon's mocking laughter in my ears. I had ripped myself awake, sweat pouring down me, and rolled from my bed. Cenny. I had been left with nightmares after that turn's events. He had been left with eyes full of demon dust, a malady that eventually took his sight. Guilt. And not the nice clean guilt that comes when you know for a fact you have done wrong. My guilt was the kind without boundaries, the kind that defied logic and others reassurances....the kind that seeped and ate away at my self-confidence. I had gathered them there to die. Afterward I sank myself into one of the darkest moods I have ever felt. Locked myself in the Growlery intent on staying there. Thorne had kicked me out. Forced me back above ground and into the world, which was exactly what I needed. I had carried my mood with me though, a walking ball of self-loathing. It was Hojo who brought me out of it. Turning my guilt into burning anger, and then standing impassively while it ran its course. Stepping out of the path of the words I threw....and the rock. I owed him so much. He had taught me of history, explained the wide world I had been thrust into with a patience that few posses. More then that though he had given me a sense of safety, a vital thing in those early days when so very much brought me fear. His presence in the land gave me the freedom to giggle, dance and play.
Fear, something I had conquered in so many forms. From my early fear of pretty much everything, to my later fear upon the realization that some humans were as twisted and sick as the demons and their Lord. The worm. I remember cowering in the attic of the mine after he had yanked back my head, held his teeth near my throat. The taunting messages he sent me telling me that all those awake were his guild-kin....that none would come to my aid. Trapped there in the dark with the gremlins and the knowledge that even without the demons, the darkness, my world was not a safe one. But the morning had come, and with it Synvasti. She had filled the attic with stories instead of fear, woven magic in the place where I had crouched shivering through the night. Later, I had realized that his words held only lies, he had hidden his actions from the guild that he had professed were on his side. The one I had tried to free from his clutches freed himself in the end. The Remnants gathered around me, letting me know I was not alone. And I realized that the darkness that was in me, the one I had hoped the worm could help me understand, was so very different from the one that festered in him. One beyond his comprehension. And so I freed myself from both my fear of him, and my fear of that which lay within me. Now it was a different fear I wrestled with, the fear of rejection, the fear of disappointing. Would I forever live my life for the pleasure of others? The thought of shedding all my binds, the real and the perceived, was almost as frightening as the thought of living forever with them.
I shook both the dreams and the memories from my head and pulled my dog-eared stack of notes from my pack. I threw myself into work as is my wont in moments like this. I fluttered from project to project as I love to do, designs for a kitchen interspersed with observations on tendril strength. Lists of knowledge I still needed to attain about clerics setting atop a half written letter of reply to my mother. I worked through the early marcs before dawn finally brought light into the bed chamber, sending pleasant shadows dancing across the room. A soft knock on my door followed soon after by Conner pulled me from my work. We had a breakfast to attend with a vintner, hopefully, if I could wheedle myself into the meeting. I glanced up at Conner distractedly, numbers and tendrils still running through my thoughts. “Good morning, please come in.” I gave him a warm smile, he really had grown on me over the past turns...though I had yet to attempt kissing him again, much to his bemusement.
“You are awake, good.” he said as he walked towards me, dismissing the parchments and sketches that lay scattered around me as he always did. I think he thought they were cushion designs or some such nonsense. “Lynar sent a message of reply, he would be glad to meet with you as well and looks forward to it. So you had best get dressed.” His words brought a spark to me, a bit of life and I quickly stacked my parchments and tucked them back in my pack.
“Did you ask about touring his vineyard? Or the rest?” I inquired over my shoulder as I started digging for my comb. Excitement filling me, speeding my movements.
“Viv, they are not going to let us over that bridge, we talked about that. Nor am I going to risk insulting Lynar by trying to press the matter. Also, I refuse to ask the man about some gruff looking Valornian who may or may not actually be here, who may or may not have a map and who may or may not be a threat. You can't even tell me what the man looks like.” He did have a point on that one, I hurriedly pulled the list of knowledge I still needed from my pack and added a line 'Ask commander for portrait of Macleon.” he would just love that request. I giggled to myself. I grinned up to Conner, feeling suddenly light hearted and free. A flicker of the old me returning.
“Well, you should leave then, I need to get ready....must look my best if I am to charm the information out of him myself, eh?” I smiled mischievously in anticipation of the game that lay ahead. Doing something would feel so very good again. And besides, I wanted that map. Or rather wanted that map safely in the Commander's or the Queen's keeping. I had ever since Rufus the Lucky mentioned the blasted thing. The thought of Rufus bolstered me even more, sending my confidence to a peak as thought of him always did. Not often you meet a person that can boil your blood at the mere thought, and in a decidedly pleasant way. Conner's next words brought it all crashing down.
“You are going to behave yourself, right Viviyana? This is an important negotiation, we stand to make a lot of plat.” Behave myself. Keep my place, smile, charm, support Conner. My blood boiled in a completely different way and my hand clenched around my comb, digging small divots into my flesh. Luckily, my face was turned from him, he was unaware.
“Weren't you leaving? I need to dress.” my tone remained calm, cold. I heard his sigh, and then the door closing behind him. I carefully dressed in a formal toga, and sat in front of my looking glass. With repetitive motions I ran the comb over and over through my lengthening hair. It fell past my shoulders now, so beautiful I looked with the light catching the bronze strands, making it shimmer like fire. I set the comb down and turned to my sewing box, opening the lid and taking from it the shears. I kept my eyes fixed on my reflection as I began to cut, smiling as the large hunks began to pile around me. Unlike at the lake I cut not out of emotion, not out of some manner of self hatred. I cut my hair this time because I was tired of combing it, tired of it getting in my eyes during battle, and because it was, after all, MY hair.
Viviyana posted @ 13:07 - Link
Monday, 16 February 2015
The Rifter's rays sinking into the sea pried open my eyes, the slight headache turning to a raging one as I blinked to clear the sleep from them, giving testament to the over indulgence of wine earlier that turn. I looked out through the stone arches surrounding the sleeping chamber and over the beaches of Iscax. I imagined Valorn over there somewhere, past the endless span of water. In truth though I did not know in which direction my home lay. Conner and I had come through the doorway like everyone else. We had come on business, the negotiation of wine prices. He had been so very eager to show me around the city, I had been loath to tell him I had been there before.
Thorne had taken me here, the first time for both of us I believe, though perhaps he had simply pretended the city was new to him as I did now for Conner. No, pretending such things was not Thorne. Thorne has always been my constant, he has stuck by me even when I had first come, even through my shock at his being a bastard, even through my darkness. He remains the most exacting and demanding mentor I had ever had, and I have had many. Always carefully drawing me out, shaping me into the full potential that he insists on seeing. I had slipped away while he slept the next turn, heading to the Muriel Long Bridge in a failed attempt to seduce the guard there to let me pass. Then I had left Ethucan early, rushing through the doorway just in time for Iso and Alyssa's bonding ceremony. Thorne had stayed, for many turns...and when he returned there was a silence there, a part he would not share with me. It was the beginning of a rift that only seemed to widen. Secrets.
As I shed my clothing and walked into the deep, warm recessed bath I thought back to the dinner with my parents nearly a half-cycle ago. Despite the passage of time, and the near constant entertainment provided by our travels, I found thinking of it often. I don't know what I had been seeking, some sort of vindication or at the very least forgiveness. I had imagined regaling them with my accomplishments, proving that others had found be worthy whereas they hadn't....and I now knew likely never would. I suppose, in a way, I had found what I was seeking...the knowledge that what they thought simply didn't matter to me any longer.
I had fixed my eyes on Conner as I walked towards the table, on the deep green eyes that I used to find so soothing. He had stood, stepping to meet me part way. Always the gentleman. I had given him a genuine smile, his letters still fresh in my mind, seasons and cycles of letters. We had been unofficially betrothed since early childhood. Through the cycles, he had always sent me details of his travels...his life. Unlike me, who seldom was allowed outside the manse, young Conner accompanied his father on various business. Oft times he would include a gift or trinket, a pouch from Fartown, or fruit from Kilican. I had loved him for those brief glimpses of the world that was outside my reach, loved him still, although now I could get myself all the trinkets I desired.
He had still smelled the same, a pleasant mingling of spices and ink. His short honey hair had receded a bit more and he still was more soft than sculpted. Yet as he alone rose to greet me his face was one of the dearest I had ever seen. All things must end though and I stepped from the momentary shelter of his presence to turn and face my father. Formality is a shield of mine. I throw it up like a mask whenever I get nervous. Or I giggle inanely. Or I am flippant...I am a woman of many shields. Fortunately, it was the first reaction that came now and I dipped a curtsy to my father. Of course, I couldn't think of one blasted thing to say along with the curtsy. But it was a nice curtsy none the less.
I had always called him 'Father' in the past. Then he disowned me, now apparently he was re-owning me, and I was at a complete loss as to how to address him. Naming him Father now rankled me too much to let the word cross my lips. Brisingr was more a father to me than this man. Bris, who had so patiently tracked me down in all the various places I had managed to get myself in those early turns. Who had made me the portal to Altitan the turn I decided pounding on the door was a brilliant plan. It hadn't been, and yet even after the boulder crushed me, even after the censure from others....he still made me another portal there the very next turn. Eventually, it was Bris who had pinned the golden dragon to my cloak.
"Viviyana, so nice of you to grace us with your presence." My sort-of father's words had brought a twist to my lips. It was nice to know that he hadn't lost his snide tone, his sarcasm. It made things easier, and a bit more fun.
"Good evening, Edmund." I had said, finally finding my tongue and coating it in my most syrupy sweet voice. A tingling rush of power had coursed through me at the use of his name, such power is in names, and the naming of others. Sigarni knew this. She named others all manner of things, though out of affection. Kariel knew this as well. I had been rewarded with a slight reddening of his face, his ire had washed up his neck and narrowed his already somewhat beady eyes.
My mother had chimed in with a reproachful, "Viviyana, show some respect." She had always had this way of knowing when he was about to blow, probably the red face, and had a habit of trying to stave off his words by injecting her own.
I had turned my oh so pleasant smile and another curtsy in her direction, "Mother, you are looking as lovely as ever this evening. And I shall forthwith call him Man-who-tossed-me-out, if it pleases you." I smiled even more sweetly, she didn't. Poor Conner had hastily pulled out one of the dark high backed chairs for me, placing a hand on my elbow in some desperate attempt to guide me into it. I was gracious and had let him.
"So, Viv, tell me about your travels." Conner had asked, as if I had been off on vacation somewhere. That was the moment I had been waiting for, all these many cycles. That chance to tell them all how I hadn't been broken, how I had prevailed. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of where to start. There was just so very much. Should I tell them of the Gates of the Many, of how we had all come together to place the massive doors in the midst of wave after wave of demon attacks? Or of the Dark Fortress and how the Knights had led us to rescue our queen? Should I speak of the Remnants and the family I had found there? The songs of the guardians and the other wonders I had beheld. The place beyond darkness that had seeped into my soul? The bronze that haunted my dreams? The Order, Altitan, the Seals, Furfuz, Myna, Cenny, Synvasti, Thorne....I mean really how does one boil all that down to some trivial conversation over dinner.
I had finally decided on fishing. Who can find fault with that topic after all? Strangely enough, even after all this time, teaching myself to fish is still one of those accomplishments I am most proud of. Conner is a fan of fishing as well and I had regaled him with my many experiments. I told him of my early contraptions, a pole with many lines tied to it flung into the lake, followed by a handful of worms. Later, I had tried spear fishing, and I had shared with him my worry about the demon spear lodged somewhere in the bottom of the Caer lake. I told him of the crabthing, really the only creature I had managed to catch, in reality the blasted thing had caught me. Of my final attempt to blow the fish out of water with fireworks. And surprisingly the conversation flowed. I remembered the comfort he had always given me, well almost always. His letters had always given me hope. This knowledge that there was a world out there that I would explore one turn. Conner had been my comfort that evening.
Conner and I had narrowed the conversation to one between the two of us and soon found ourselves alone in the dinning room. I hadn't even really noticed when they had left, surprisingly hadn't cared. The last time I had been alone with Conner had been twelve cycles ago, in the courtyard. It was the eve of our betrothal dinner, to which fifty of our fathers' various friends and associates had been invited to. Our upcoming bonding was now official, and he had kissed me. And it had been one of the scariest moments of my life, as well as unpleasant. The man could use some lessons. In the Remnants there is a joke about me kissing a rat-fish. I confessed it as my first kiss, and had even created little stories around the meaning of it. But the truth was it was that kiss I was referring to, and this man who had sat beside me during dinner, defending every word of mine. I really could be a little shit sometimes. He deserves better.
I used to be filled with fear, and with little knowledge or tools with which to deal with it. Conner had ended the kiss, oblivious to my reaction and sweetly promised me further kisses, deeper kisses after the dinner was over. I, of course, had reacted as any sane person would have and convinced James, the cook's boy to slip a purgative in Conner's soup that fateful night so long ago. I now knew more of herbs and poisons, and realize that the dose I had slipped him could have resulted in much worse that his humiliation and my banishment. At the time I was a silly, frightened girl who thought that more was better than less. He made it all the way to the dessert course before losing the contents of his stomach out of both ends. James had bolted, and rather than let him take the blame I had confessed...leaving his part out of it. I still remember my father's fists and then boot crashing against me over and over and then Cedric had been there, pulling me up. He had taken me from the house at my father's demands. My father's parting words to me had been his insistence that his name was no longer mine to use. And so I became just Viviyana.
Pulling myself from my spiraling memories I stood and wrapped one of the thick bath sheets around me as I left the water, walking to the large arched windows. I wondered if I could see them out there, the light of the lanterns filling the sky. Far from the shores of Ethucan, Frost Fall was ending. Somewhere across that water all those I had come to love were writing their hopes on lanterns and sending them up to the Gods. I whispered my own hope, letting it drift up to join with theirs, praying that the Gods could still hear me.
Viviyana posted @ 01:12 - Link
Sunday, 08 February 2015
I awoke in a pile of now crumpled letters, poor Butterfly digging into my arm. It was a soft but demanding knock on my door that had roused me from my bronze tinted dreams. I called out some incoherent response only to have Nalia, the housekeeper, peek her head in the door and inform me that the evening meal was in a marc's time. She gave me a wink as she said it, such a familiar thing for her to do. She had always had the ability to make me feel as if we were co-conspirators with that wink of hers, letting me know that soon my parents would be gone again and life would return to normal. But this was not then, and her wink did little to calm my nerves. However, her slight wince at my appearance as she closed the door did convinced me that perhaps some freshening up was in order.
I padded my way into my small bath chamber, trying to rub the last of the dreams out of my eyes as I went. I had been in the depths again, in the darkness that encased me like the nothingness had, that same feeling of absence. Yet in the dream there had been sound, Synvasti's voice, murmured low enough that only the cadence marked it as hers. Her words had wrapped around me, like webbing, like the finest spider silk...only in the dream they turned bronze and held the strength of tendrils.
Synvasti, our parting had been short, my pain at the thought of leaving her for whatever span of time stealing my capacity for speech. An odd pairing of friends if ever there was. Forged deep beneath the wall with shared wonder at the song of the guardians, it had grown through endless stories, shared knowledge, and the ability to feel the humming of the world not seen. Not having her here now was a vulnerable feeling. Synvasti was unshakable, if I had faith in anyone's ability to walk through darkness unscathed it was in hers. I had known it that turn, the turn I scooped the bronze blossom from the stony ground and tucked it in her tangled locks. I had known that she had the strength to carry it, though the guilt from that act has haunted me since. But then, guilt and I are old friends as well: Cenny's eyes, Synvasti's blossom, and the blasted Dark Fire. I wonder at times if all the guilt inside me and all the anger inside me will battle some turn, perhaps consume each other and leave me in peace. Doubt it.
I dashed cold water across my face, banishing the dream into memory. I lifted my face to the looking glass and then went digging through my overstuffed pack for my comb. As I sat picking tangles from my hair I thought up polite trivialities, small talk. It has never been one of my strongest skills and I searched my mind now for things to say, safe things, things that wouldn't offend. I practiced them out loud to Butterfly, accompanying them with perfectly composed smiles and tinkling laughter. Then I threw the comb across the room, as hard as I could. I smiled a bit at the satisfying thunk it made as it hit the far wall and stood, smoothing the creases from my dress. “Shall we?” I asked Butterfly before tucking her safely in her pouch at my side.
I entered the dining room in my usual late fashion only to find them already seated, oblivious of my presence. My mother, Tatiyana was in full force, her face radiating warmth as she leaned in towards Conner, apparently enthralled with whatever he was saying. My father was speaking up at Nalia, requesting wine most likely. I had that moment, that one tick as I stood in the doorway, unnoticed. In that breath, looking in, everything inside me screamed for me to leave. The longing for the safe walls of the Growlery surged fierce inside me, calling for me to spin and run out the door and into the snow shrouded night. But I did not. I swallowed, cleared my throat slightly and pinned my best smile on my face as I stepped within.
Viviyana posted @ 18:33 - Link
Friday, 06 February 2015
I walked up the steps to my parent's manse wearing my best gown, one of three I had purchased off Kandice the turn of the queen's gathering. I wrapped myself in memories of that gathering now, one of my best. To be lighthearted and filled with hope when darkness gathers all around has always been a favorite sensation of mine, so rebellious. That was the night that Doyle had arrived in ceremonial robes matching those worn by the Iron Knights. The heady excitement that had coursed through me at that realization was only outdone by my jubilation at the queen's announcement of her and Hojo's upcoming bonding. I had a different bonding to attend to now, mine. Or rather the possibility of mine. Correction, the slim possibility of mine, a sliver of possibility, like a splinter...really.
Cedric answered my knock and informed me that my parents were out visiting an associate of theirs. I could pretend that this filled me with hurt and anger, but really I was relieved. Their absence allowed me to wrap Cedric up in an embrace. I giggled at his momentary surprise before stepping back to look at him. He was aged, but then he always had been. Once a guard, his demeanor still held a stiffness and formality that made him even more endearing to me. It was Cedric who had been given the task of escorting me out of this very house twelve cycles ago. It was Cedric who had put an arm around me as I stood there bawling and beaten, waiting for the ferry to arrive that would take me to my new life in Dundee. And it had been Cedric who placed my very first blade, his, into my hand as I stepped onto the ferry.
“Your rooms have been prepared for you upstairs.” he indicated the stairs with a nod as he spoke. It was not the warmest of greetings, but it sufficed. “Mistress Avantis has asked that you keep away from the servants quarters,” he added, pausing before continuing with a firm, “And the kitchen.” Ah, yes, really I could understand that request. As much as I chaffed at not being allowed into the place that held center in many of my favorite memories of home, it made sense. I had poisoned poor Conner the last time I had been in there. Seems this new start still carried lingering ghosts, they always do.
“Thank you, Cedric, I know the way.” I gave him a smile in parting before ascending the steps, anticipation filling me. My rooms, my little sanctuary. As I opened the heavy wooden door I noticed it had been cleaned. All signs of the former me wiped away. My dolls, no longer played with but still lined in honor along my window seat, were gone. Even my writing desk, in the little room attached to my bedchamber, was scrubbed clean. The dark stains, marking the many times I had ruined a parchment by tipping over the ink pot, had been sanded away. The piles and stacks of books that formed a barrier around my bed had been returned to their rightful place in the library.
Inanely, my thoughts turned to the half-read book I had left sitting in the Alliance Hall's basement. I wondered if anyone would think to look down there, in the little room that I so dearly loved. Deep sorrow hit me at the realization that it will most likely have been demolished by the time I return, the material used to build a new hall, for a new guild. This stone fortress in the mountains had been a second home to me, my love for it only outmatched by my love for RoK. I recalled seemingly endless marcs spent in the strategy office, learning of history, of trust. I sat down on my bed and formulated a wondrous plan to chain myself to the beams of the Last Resort. Surely they would not destroy it with me inside. I could gather others as well, we could all chain ourselves to something, we could save a part of history! A very noble cause indeed. But not my cause, not my place and not my business. Besides, it would cause a spectacle and the Gods know I have caused enough of those.
So instead I pulled out my maps, save for the one I left in Synvasti's keeping, and used lockpicks to pin them up over the wall behind my desk. Below these I lined up my collection: diagrams of what I remembered of the inside of the Dark Fortress, a hastily comprised time-line of anything and everything bronze, a rather intricate map of Branishor down to Fartown, over-layered with the tunnel systems and a funny little drawing of blood splotches on snow. That done I went into my bath chamber and retrieved my old journals, stacks of missives, and keepsakes from beneath the loose tile. I pulled Butterfly from her pouch and flopped down on my bed. I untied the bundle of missives, all from Conner and spanning almost our entire lives. I began to read them to Butterfly.
Viviyana posted @ 15:55 - Link
Her voice drifted through the snow-muffled sounds of the market place and into my ears. A voice I could not forget, even after the passing of twelve cycles, and even though I had heard it so rarely prior to that. Mother. I searched her out, it was simple with so few in the market area, only to find she had turned from the merchant and was watching me, her gray eyes already fixed upon my clothes, judging. The rest of her face was hidden, wrapped behind the ice blue bunnyfuz cloth that she wore across her mouth and nose. I had seen such cloths before, a new fashion in Branishor, brought about from necessity. Though I had a feeling that her's had less to do with keeping the dark smoke that drifted into the lungs of the residents out, and more to do with keeping her identity hidden. My mother did not go to merchants, they came to her.
Her eyes traveled down my gown, flicking over the mud, the old blood stains I had long given up on removing, the hastily repaired rips. I smiled sweetly at her perusal and lifted my cloak aside, turning a hip so she could see the long and decidedly indecent tear that had had never bothered to mend properly. As her lips pursed in displeasure I lifted one muck covered boot, swiveling my foot so she could further appreciate the depth of the sludge upon it. “Mud mostly, though I am sure there is plenty of zombie bits mixed in...innards tend to stick, you know. They are all the rage.” I enthused, making my voice as insipid as humanly possible.
“Still the child I see.” Her voice cut like ice, or would have if she hadn't been talking through bunnyfuz. She walked towards me as she spoke, her gaze finally lifting to my face. “You have let your skin go as well I see. And your hair.” Her eyes held anger, she had always thought of my hair as hers. One of the few things she approved of. Last she had seen me it had fallen down below my hips if let to fall free, which it rarely was.
I remembered the turn I had hacked it off, by the lake, where Furfuz now guards. I had grabbed a hold of the long braided rope, and used Novgrod's dagger to cut it off. I was so determined to become someone other than who I was. I had hidden there after a rather unfortunate audience with Cordelia. Sorynn and Hojo had taken me to the throne room to show me the western door. In their defense they did not know me. Sorynn had only an inkling of the type of person I was. Hojo had made my acquaintance but a marc prior, and didn't yet know how the urgency of my ideas led my feet into trouble. He learned. And then Thorne arrived. Thorne. So strange to think of a time that I had not known him, I knew him then if only as the face who had been amused at my antics the day I arrived in Dundee. He was one who had shown me compassion when I went into the Inn demanding that someone, not me, take care of the horrible rat and rabbit infestation. He showed compassion this turn as well. He held me mentally upright as the crier announced the queen's arrival. I had come to the Throne Room to assure myself that the queen knew of the damage done to the Milltown Northern Gates, and to push for the formation of some sort of leadership. The audience itself was a blur, I remember Hojo speaking, explaining my presence and concerns, I remember Thorne speaking in my defense as well. Most starkly though I remember the arrival of then Iron Knight Raffe, followed by the realization that such a form of leadership as I had come seeking already existed. They were called the Iron Knights, they were strong and competent and they were ours. And thus began my obsession with all things Iron.
My mother's repeated use of my name finally pulled me from my musings, “Vi-vi-yana! Are you even listening?” She accompanied this query with the huffed out sigh of one who has endured about all she can take. Perhaps, if it hadn't been snowing or her face hadn't been covered, I would have answered flippantly. Perhaps if I hadn't noticed that she had worn that same dress the turn before they tossed me out and that it was far more faded than she ever would have worn before, I could have turned and walked back to RoK. But, in that instant she was a woman, an aged mirror of myself standing with a hint of pleading behind her frustrated tone. So I stayed, and I listened.
“I was not, apologies. I have much on my mind of late and I am afraid my mind drifted. Please, can you repeat things?” One thing I had mastered, even before my departure from her home, was pretty apologies. This one worked and she calmed, her composed visage slipping back into place.
“I feel we have all had time to reflect on things, I have spoken with your father and we would like to invite you to come back home. You have been greatly missed.” She lied so prettily this mother of mine, and the joy her words brought quickly turned to boiling anger at my realization that it was indeed a lie. They had never had much affection for me, even before they tossed me out. They simply had no use for children, of which I was their only, and so lived a life very separate from mine. I was suddenly grateful for all the lessons the Commander had given me in not throwing things and chose to assume she spoke of the servants missing me instead. Her next words almost undid all that hard work, “We have had communication from Conner as well, he too has forgiven you and still wishes to bond.”
Viviyana posted @ 00:44 - Link