Friday, April 7, 2017

The Tale of Dorian and Adelasia, Chapter 1

Adelasia ran screaming through the forest, her long, light hair streaking out behind her. Branches ripped through her locks, pulling painfully at her scalp, and thorns and foliage tore at her feet, but she hardly noticed for the panic and adrenaline. She heard heavy breathing close behind her and knew the beats were gaining, but she couldn’t run any faster. But all efforts to escape came to an abrupt stop as a set of massive claws dug deep into her side, tearing through her skin like wet paper. A wave of anxiety swept through her, overwhelming her thoughts so she could hardly feel her own blood spilling or her feet dragging against the ground as she was pulled backwards. Her mouth was wide open, instinctively, but the breath she needed to call out as she desperately wanted to had already rushed out of her lungs. The rancid breath of the great beast that had grabbed her fanned out against the back of her neck, and her vision blurred with tears at the thought of her horrible fate. I will die here, she thought to herself, more profoundly terrified than she had ever been. I will die here and no one will ever find me. She would be alone, and forgotten, and never return home. She managed to draw in just enough breath for a sob before being violently thrown to the ground by the monster. Barely conscious from the impact of her head slamming into the ground, it was all she could do to keep her eyes open for a few seconds longer, and the last thing she saw was the gleam of silver armor in the moonlight, and the flash of a sword against the great beast’s flesh. 

The first thing she felt when she woke was warmth and comfort. Soft light flickered before her, and she opened her eyes to a fire several feet in front of her. She was in a bed, she realized, but not her own- and a soft gasp escaped her lips. How did I get here…? She tried to sit up, but a pounding headache overtook her the moment she started to move. Was this a kidnapping? Adelasia had heard of pretty maidens being stolen from their homes before, and secretly dreamed of one day being the lovely princess in such a story- but that didn’t mean she ever really wanted it to happen. She closed her eyes, wincing against the pain, and tried to recall what had actually transpired that night. Soon enough, flashes of it started to return- she had been out searching for herbs, and then… That was right. Some strange monster had attacked her. Her hand immediately shifted down to her waist, to where she had been clawed, and she noted with relief that it was already bandaged. So she had been rescued… Could she be the princess in the story, after all?

A gust of chill air swept in as the door to the little cottage opened, sending shivers through her spine. Standing in the doorway was, unmistakably, a valiant knight, head held high in shining armor, and this, she knew right away, was the same one that had saved her last night. No kind of warrior, she knew, would stand with such pride or have saved her so honorably, except one that had the blessing of the King. It still hurt to move, but at least she could speak, and was eager to make a good impression, as well as get some answers. “Thank you for rescuing me, kind Sir.”

The knight stepped through the door, closing it behind them, and silently began to remove their armor, stowing it carefully away. Then they turned to face Adelasia, and her eyes widened slightly as the knight gave a nod, their face impassive. “You’re welcome.”

“You’re a woman…”

The knight’s face remained impassive, and they answered simply. “No.”

Adelasia struggled to understand. “Then… you are a man?”

“No.” The knight turned away, and began to stoke the fire, breathing new life into it. 

“But, if you aren’t- then- what are you?”

“My name is Dorian,” they answered, with just slightly more of an edge than before.

Spurred on by her headache and her increasing frustration at this person’s refusal to conform to her expectations, it hadn’t occurred to Adelasia that her line of questioning might have been insulting, and she instantly regretted having slighted her rescuer. Her voice lost its insistence. “I’m sorry… Thank you for rescuing me, Dorian.” They seemed content to just gaze into the fire, so after a few moments of silence, she continued. “Do you mind if I ask… what was that beast you saved me from?”

Dorian took a slow breath before answering. “It was a vampire. You are lucky to still be alive.”

She gasped slightly at the term. “But, I- vampires… they don’t exist?”

They turned to meet Adelasia’s eyes again, and raised an eyebrow. “After what happened last night, you still think they aren’t real?” She let that sink in, and then nodded softly in acknowledgement- it was a fair point. “What were you doing in those woods by yourself late at night?”

“I just went out in the late afternoon to find some herbs…” A faint blush crept over her cheeks. “And I just, got lost along the way.”

Dorian nodded, sparing Adelasia the disapproval she was expecting. “I understand. But if you can, please be more careful in the future. That forest is infested with vampires. I was only there to save you because I happened to be in the area hunting them.” 

She gave a small nod in return. “Thank you.” She looked around at the little cottage, then, taking it in. Although it was small, the space was used efficiently, and Adelasia thought it was quite charming. There was the bed she laid on and a small couch along the wall, with a kitchen situated in the opposite corner. The fireplace, across from the bed, was set up to cook food over as well as to heat the house. Decorations were sparing, but certainly unique- a hand-dyed silk tapestry hung on one wall, the head of a strange beast was mounted over the fireplace, and there were a few other foreign or seemingly magical things neatly displayed. 

Dorian’s voice softened a little more, but they maintained their stone-faced exterior. “May I ask your name?”

“Adelasia,” she answered, her gaze landing back on the fire. “This is a lovely cottage.”

“Thank you. I apologize for having brought you to a strange place; I wasn’t sure where you lived, and I had to treat your wounds. Once you have recovered enough to travel I will be glad to escort you back home.” They paused, then, looking her over carefully. “How are you feeling?”

She opened her mouth, her first instinct to say that she was fine, but then thought better of it. “My head hurts, and more so when I try to move. But I know I am lucky to be alive after last night. Thank you.”

“Last night?” Dorian paused for a moment, surprise betrayed in their expression just briefly. “Adelasia, you have been asleep for nearly a week.”

“A week!” She gasped, momentarily forgetting her injuries, and bolted upright only to immediately regret it. Black spots danced before her eyes as her head thudded, and she felt like she might have pulled something in her side. A week, she managed to think through the pain. What everyone at home must think…

She was interrupted from her thoughts by one hand on her shoulder, and another holding a leaf she had never seen in front of her face. It took a few moments before her senses came into focus again, and then she registered that Dorian was talking to her. And, she thought, they sounded concerned- the second break in that cool exterior so far.

“Can you hear me?” They spoke gently, considerate of how they knew Adelasia’s head must feel. She gave the slightest of nods, which Dorian accepted as a cue to continue. “Take this leaf, and chew on it- it will dull the pain. And please, try not to move.”

Adelasia reached out to take the leaf, her hand shaking slightly, and gently began to chew on it. Dorian waited a few moments for her to start to look more comfortable before speaking to her again. “I understand how frightening this must all seem to you. But I will bring you home as soon as you are well enough to travel. Until then, try to rest.” She nodded, and slowly moved to lay back down, Dorian sliding their hand from her shoulder to her back to help ease her through the motion. Then they stepped back again, standing a respectable distance away, and Adelasia remembered how striking it was, the way they held theirself. “Can I get you anything?”

“No, thank you,” she replied, telling herself not to be distracted. 

Dorian offered her a small smile, and she was taken off guard again- she hadn’t thought about how much her rescuer’s face might have come to life when they smiled. “Then try to sleep. We can speak again when you wake.”

Adelasia did not need to be told twice; her body was still tired from healing, and she quickly drifted off again.

A/N: So, this is my first attempt at a long prose thing in a while. Dorian is actually an ancestor of Niccolò and Alastair, whose story I really wanted to explore. So I will write more of these, if all goes according to plan, and see where it goes.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Names, a third time

they’re at it again screaming what a surprise screaming why is it dark screaming isn’t there some way we can use this against them screaming apparently not screaming let me out let me out let me out screaming don’t we all wish we had spouses that f***ed us at least twice a day screaming please screaming if we just tried leaving them alone screaming weak pathetic souls screamingif you knew true power screaming I just want to die screaming do you wonder what they might be doing screaming do they escalate it every time screaming if we could just find a way to make them stop screaming break the walls screamingeasy prey screaming I never wanted this screaming I miss dancing screamingso glad you told me screaming do you think she’d die if we managed to get him once she bit him screaming absolutely screaming please just leave her alone screaming can’t you see it’s finally getting better screaming what do you call better screaming this is weakness like we’ve never felt screaming why is it so hard the wall won’t budge screaming it’s condensed we’ll never get through screaming but if we try screaming no screaming but if he thinks we tried screaming if he thought we had broken through screaming give it time screaming I want to go home

A/N: Written at a very specific time, as a gift to my dear friend, Noelle.  AC

Monday, July 27, 2015

Names, Again

you're getting weaker and you know it screaming I don't know how much longer we can hold him like this screaming you know I will win you're only stalling screaming please do look after yourself you know Simone won't kill you she'll try to find something screaming worse and when she does I'll gladly help her with it screaming if you're crazy and you know it clap your hands -screaming clap,clap- if you're crazy and you know it clap your hands -clap,clap- screaming she'll just die even if we don't kill her we'll outlive her screaming she has ten years less now and you don't even know why screaming can someone please tell me how to get out screaming have you ever considered that your kids will only grow up to hate you screaming you don't have to spend so much energy on me anymore it's alright screaming you've never been able to beat us entirely screaming why would they screaming the question is how far could he make it if you lot stopped helping screaming maniac screaming madness screaming oh because you're so much better screaming please I just want to know how to get home screaming what if she grows to hate you screaming even small clouds high in the sky can leave big shadows screaming shadow is all that you are anymore screaming this is too much screaming where have you taken me now screaming I don't like all these noises screaming oh god look at everything I've done screaming is anybody listening screaming please help me screaming I just want screaming silence

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Disappearance of Alastair Cruciatus

You don't know how much you mean to me, I swear- if I could only help you, somehow- all I can do is insist that I love you, I need you, I can't live without you. You are better than you think
I wish I could offer you more comfort, solace, that I could be more for you and closer to you and heal all of your scars, but my powers don't extend beyond the page, hard as I try


Beyond the page
Hard as I try                                Insist
     You mean to me, I                                    Broken
I can't
                                                           I need


I    Love you
 'm sorry



I love you




Monday, February 9, 2015

Better Than the Last One

Alastair paced back and forth at the edge of a table in his forge, dwarfed by the fire blazing beside him. He had shrunk himself down to about the size of a thimble to put the finishing touches on Adra's wedding ring; it was too precise to be done well on a larger scale. He stopped his pacing to closely examine the inside of the band, carefully carving another groove into the heated rose gold. Taking a few steps back, he continued to stare at the letters appearing as though they were formed out of branches- the whole ring was meant to appear as though made of small branches- for what felt like an age, feeling critical of his work but not sure what to fix. There must be something...

It has to be better than the last one, at least. He had spared no expense in making her engagement ring, and although Alastair himself placed little to no value in ceremonies, he knew how important this was to Adra. She was so excited to be married, so he was determined to make everything within his power as idealistic as possible.

Struggling only slightly with tools much larger than he was, he polished the four small stones he'd cut out from the Cullinan for the third time that hour. Adra had seemed so in awe of the stone's energy when she first held it, and he wanted her to be equally impressed with the energy of this ring. Admittedly, it was hard for him to gauge exactly how it would feel to her, but he had exhausted himself on multiple occasions trying to recreate her alchemical perception of stones within himself, and as far as he could tell ring's energy was perfectly balanced.

While he had devoted much of his effort to perfecting the energy of the stones, between the opal, philosopher's stones, and diamonds, he determined that he must be equally concerned with the shape and appearance of the ring. It had to be able to match in some respect the shape of her engagement ring, so that she could wear the two together if she wished to; he didn't know what was customary for people to wear on an everyday basis. And then, of course, it had to look stunning, regardless of whether Adra ever saw it, and it had to feel physically comfortable around her soft, remarkable skin.

He felt along the inside of the ring. Not good enough. Carefully, he began to soften the texture. If he wore the grooves in the metal down too much, he might spoil the lettering it had taken him days to perfect. What if I ruin it?

You'd still have time to fix it.

What if it doesn't feel right?

She will. You've been so careful- she will.

What if its energy is off? What if she hates it? Suppose I mess the whole thing up-

Oh, honestly. Calm down. You're being ridiculous. She'll love it.

He ceased his pacing again, tilting his head slightly to the side. Why on Earth am I so kind to myself all of a sudden? Slight laugher sounded softly in his mind. Aretha Tesla?

She replied with the equivalent in thought of a smile. It's beautiful, Alastair. Adra will think so, too.

He paused for a moment, taking that in, and nodded once. She was almost certainly right, but he still worried. How is Niccolò?

Better. Not perfect- I highly doubt he will be anytime soon- but he's okay.

Good. He considered, and rephrased. Thank you. I hope she'll be pleased. He let Aretha fade out of the forefront of his mind, and returned his attention to the task at hand. The branch making up part of the "G" in "Gaia" wasn't quite as deep as the rest. He pushed the ring closer to the fire, reheating it for just a few seconds, and carefully began to carve into the edges.

A/N: Takes place a few days before the Aladra wedding, on Christmas Eve of 2014. He found the time to do all of the mining, stone fitting, and sculpting all the gold pretty much any time he was away from Adra, or unable to sleep in the middle of the night, or during hours that he made for himself by freezing time.

Antony Neverrest

The funeral parlour was crowded that day. Which meant, of course, that he couldn't go in. Jessica had a lot of friends. She must have grown to be a fine young woman, he thought. It was probably better for her that she didn't know him. Probably better that no one knew he existed- not even his own daughter. Not even now that it was too late. She only would've died sooner, he thought, if she'd known him. He thought. He prayed. He couldn't deal with any more blood on his hands. He flopped down on his bed. Immortality really lost its charm. Well, not quite immortality, he reminded himself. He was more like a lobster. He could die, but he never aged. 

"Are you ready now?" A voice sounded from behind him. So smooth, so soft, that he didn't even start. He just thought to himself, exhaustedly, yes. God, yes. I just want to see my wife again. He looked up, and was surprised to notice a man in a long black coat.

"You're not death," he exclaimed, surprised. "You're... You're just a person."

"Oh, Antony," the stranger laughed, "You are so deluded, aren't you? The years must have clouded your mind. I almost don't want you anymore, but then... When has insanity stopped me before?"

Antony scrambled back a few steps, finally realizing how deeply in trouble he was. "You..." his voice trembled, and his hands scrambled about on the table beside him for something to use as a weapon. He felt something he thought might be heavy, and picked up- an alarm clock. After all these years, he thought to himself, the best you can do is an alarm clock. Then he sighed, and just before he began his last thought, his world went black.

When he woke, he couldn't stop spinning. Every sense was heightened- scents and sounds bombarded him from every direction, and his vision was so acute it almost blinded him. And the screaming... All that screaming... He didn't know if it was his, or someone else's, or maybe... He almost thought that it was both at once... And there were voices, so many voices. His hands were covered in blood, but they weren't his hands- and then he was moving, wielding all sorts of knives like an expert, but it wasn't really him moving, and he thought that maybe he was hurting someone, but he couldn't stop himself. He recognized someone else's laughter in his head. Is there no rest, he cried out, panicked to discover that his voice didn't work, even in death?!

Well, the soothing voice answered, suddenly seeming pained and genuine now that they were on the same plane, You did name yourself Neverrest. He even barely thought he heard I'm sorry.

A/N: Story of the death of one of Niccolò's names.

A Second Chance

"I want you to pay very close attention, Niccolò," Alastair muttered under his breath, "Because I am about to give you the most important choice of your life. You get to make it all over again. Do you understand?" He grinned madly, excitement feeding into crazed energy. He knew he was even more unhinged than usual- Hell was too much even for him to bear without any scars- but for his purposes, it only made him stronger.

Over the past few days, Alastair had set out to destroy everything positive Niccolò had ever created. He killed refugees and starving children, spoiled water supplies, and everything else he could think of while the voice in his head struggled against him. Niccolò's presence had become so small that Alastair could barely feel it. This would be the final nail in his coffin.

A man with blonde hair and cold blue eyes strolled into the Stille family library. Christofer rose to greet the stranger, extending a hand.

Alastair watched himself threaten the mother and two sisters of seventeen year old Niccolò. "This is it. The night it all began," he whispered gleefully, his voice lacquered in temptation. "If you overtake me now, you can reverse it all. Every person you've ever harmed-" the small presence within him stirred- "safe. Every epidemic we've ever brewed," it thrashed wildly, "nonexistent."

Christofer's expression quickly changed to one of horror, as the stranger slowly advanced till he was backed between a blade and a desk. He had to think of something. There was no way he could take the knife away, and even if he could, he wouldn't know how to use it, but he couldn't stall forever- he had to think of something...

Alastair bent over, sliding a few feet down the slanted roof across the street where he'd stationed himself, his fingers curled tightly in his hair. "Every world... We've ever destroyed..." he now spoke in shortened bursts of breath, a splitting headache overtaking him. "Your sister's children..." He drew a shuddering breath, and then was gone.

Niccolò rose to his feet inside the house- he had teleported before he fully regained control of his thoughts- and threw two knives at once; one buried itself in the neck of the young Alastair, and the other he drove through the bone of his own skull. Croatoan took a slow breath, closing his eyes, and sank to the floor. He didn't even feel himself sobbing. Finally- finally, it was all over.

The end.

An unfamiliar scream sounded over his shoulder. He glanced backwards at an unfamiliar woman who was trembling uncontrollably, and realized a few seconds later that the setting had changed. He wasn't in his library anymore. The revelation tore through what was left of his spirit. He had never been in his library at all.

Two young boys, three and five years old, lay dead where they had been chasing each other around a kitchen table. Then there was nothing. Alastair tucked away the shriveled, blank presence that had once been Niccolò, knowing that from this point forward it would perceive nothing, and feel nothing. It had no fight left. He smirked in content, thinking quietly to himself. You were right. It was, in fact-

the end.

A/N: Took place shortly after Alastair gained control from Niccolò, just before Aladra started to form.