Descent of Darkness

Seeing Water

in which the world comes crashing down

My gut churns violently; stabbing tendrils of razor-sharp flames coil and snake throughout my body. They pierce my throat and flood my arms and legs with unbearable heat as the seeing water effects wear off and all of us come to ourselves again. My hands shake not of their own volition, trying to contain that overwhelming energy. I clench them tightly, my throat constricting. The blood pounds so hard in my head I feel it slam against my skull in time to my quickened heartbeat; feel it roar seething through my veins, flooding them completely. I am SO ANGRY and I don’t even know why. I only know I want to scream at everyone until my throat is hoarse and my voice is gone. I want to punch a wall or tree until my fingers bleed and I stop fucking feeling so damn much! A family. I fucking can’t have had a damn stupid, awful family! My course is set and my purpose already honed. It doesn’t matter that once upon a time long ago – like some ridiculous and dangerously naïve fairy-tale – I had a fucking gods-forsaken bloody actual family. And another stab of betrayal; the fucking pendant I’ve been wearing for months now that I thought was some beautiful piece of jewelry that Lorne made or bought in his past is a damn bloody ELVEN pendant! ELVEN!!!! I take it and fling it violently away from me as hard as I can, wishing I could fling the vision away from me as easily and thoroughly. It always comes back to this – back to being a damn ELF! I’d give anything- even my vengeance- to have been born a normal human and not as a bloody elf. I fucking hate elves! I don’t want anything to do with them and I NEVER will. The visions were wrong. This whole “chosen ones” thing is a big bloody fucking joke. I will NEVER learn Elven and I will NEVER ally myself with some pointy-eared, psychotic, touchy-feely, weak, too-long-lived fucking freaks. Fuck!

I take a few ragged, painful breaths and think I have myself back under some control when Rabble turns and makes some snide comment. I don’t even have time to process and answer back fully when Kaine starts in on how “lucky” I am that I had a family to tuck me in at night and people to care about me. He’s MAD that I threw the pendant that was so like the woman in my vision – the one that looked like me. And then Waryk fucking joins in the attack. How DARE they tell ME how I should react to my vision – that I should “open my mind” or some other bullshit naïve advice. They don’t fucking know me! They don’t know how many nights I went to sleep in some corner of a ruined building, sobbing silently with pain from Farl’s cruelty; tortured and burned or whipped or sliced open with a knife (and sometimes all of the above) and hoping against hope that I wouldn’t die from my open wounds and bleeding body like so many others had done from the dirty city. How many times in those first few years with Farl that I heard the agonized, dying screams of the youngest of the Streets – ones I had dared to try to help keep from starving. He made me watch as he tortured and killed them in front of me…in my name – because I had been kind. Because I had wanted to be like Blink and help the ones who could not help themselves. Because he wanted me to suffer. They died because of me! Before I learned that kindness only brings worse suffering. Their small suffering faces and agonized screams still haunt my dreams. None of them know how many nights I was running with Blink and still hoped…how many times I wished – like a fucking idiot – that I had parents or family that would come find me and take me home with them. That my life would be a bloody fairy tale and that I had a home and people who cared for me and protected me. Guess what? The people I belonged to were obviously either fucking weak and died or they didn’t care enough to come find me. There is no such thing as a bloody fucking hero and fairy tales never come true. You take care of yourself and what you need or you get left bleeding and broken by someone stronger or more cunning. You find yourself dead, waiting for a dream that is nothing but fanciful wishes built on lies. My Street days burned all my weak naïveté and innocence away.

Gods! They’re STILL going on about it! I don’t have to fucking explain myself to them – they don’t deserve it! I feel red creeping at the edges of my vision and I stand and whirl angrily, looking back long enough to glare at them and see Gareth look sadly in my direction. My eyes widen slightly, startling a little from that…I wasn’t expecting it…not from him. I … I … am not sure how I feel about it. At least it wasn’t pity! I’ve seen that look before and it makes me want to punch the other person. Pity is for condescending assholes who think they’re better than you. But Gareth’s eyes were sad, not pitying. I growl incoherently. I don’t understand ANY of this. Before I start flinging daggers at people, I whirl and march myself out the door and stalk angrily into the surrounding fields, blessedly bare of fucking annoying other people.

I walk along – my vision narrowed inward; blocking everything else out. The small orc-child comes and tries to get me to go back but I manage to convince her to head back without me. Something something cheetahs and gnomes are out there. What the hell is a cheetah? I don’t even care. I can take care of myself! I always have and I always will. It doesn’t even sound that dangerous…She gave me trouble for a minute about going back with her but I swore and did some stupid pinky promise thing and she was happy enough to go skipping back to the village. I don’t even remember what I said exactly; I just told her anything I could think of to get her to just go and leave me the fuck alone. I keep going, turning left and hoping to avoid the cheetahs or whatever, and continue angrily on my way.

Fuck! Cheetahs are fucking VICIOUS! I hadn’t even been looking where I was walking until one of the giant cat-things pounces out of seemingly thin air and lands directly in front of me, startling me out of my angry inner thoughts. Their claws and teeth look terribly sharp. I crouch in the grass, hoping to hide well enough for them to leave me alone but I can tell it’s doing no good. I am so close I can see the black lines running from the cat’s inner eye down to its mouth – like it’s crying dark tears. I see my death waiting in those golden yellow eyes and I start to resign myself to it. Maybe it’s better this way anyway. I am not fit to try and save anyone – let alone the world. I’ll just fuck it up and end up destroying it instead! That’s what’s happened every other time I’ve ever tried to help anyone. They’ll be fine without me; better I bet! The dragons said there were other potential chosen – I bet if I die another will rise and do a much better job of it all I start to close my eyes, waiting for a strike that will never come. As I watch Kaine bull-rushes the cheetahs, putting his own life on the line to save mine. I’d been so oblivious I hadn’t even noticed he was there! He must have followed me from the village! He looks angry! He swings at the cheetahs and I hold my breath, hoping that he can kill them or hurt them enough to scare them off. After a moment though, I realize the cheetahs are too strong. Kaine is hurt – badly! I can see him bleeding from the attacks from here. I pull out my crossbow, wanting to help. I know the village is too far away to get to for reinforcements but I may be able to intercede enough for Kaine to get away. He doesn’t need to die for my stupidity and obliviousness. I WON’T have another person’s death on my conscience; not if I can prevent it. Kaine yells at me to leave but I scream back at him, saying I won’t leave him alone to die! He screams angrily at me to run and he’ll be close behind. Hoping he knows what he’s doing, I turn and run…straight into Swizzle on the warforged. “RUN!!!” I scream at her. She tries playing a couple things on her ukulele. I’m not sure why, but it helps me feel a little better as all of us turn and bolt as fast as we can back to the village. By the end I’m panting and feel like all the breath has been burned from my lungs, but we make it! We make it to Rabble, who calms the animals, and the orc elders, who somehow send the cheetahs back to the grasslands. One of them heals Kaine but I can’t STAND the thought of all the looks on the party’s faces when they see me…know that I almost got myself and Kaine killed…

I go back to the tent we used the seeing water in, thinking I could sneak in while Gareth is sleeping and maybe Waryk is out and find my pendant. I don’t want it per se, but … ok fine. I fucking want it back! This day has sucked and the reminder of Lorne makes me feel better, even if it is a stupid elven pendant. Maybe I’ll just keep it in one of my pouches or pockets or something. I don’t know. But I don’t want anyone else to have it either. I walk in but, of course, fucking Waryk has the pendant and ASKS me if I want it back. OF COURSE I CAN’T TELL HIM I WANT IT. I glare at him and say “Of course not!!” as I turn around and stomp back out of the tent. I can’t TELL him I want it back. The look on his face made me want to punch him. I’m not admitting to him I want it back!! I … I … fuck. I don’t know anymore.

My pendant is gone; I’m never getting it back because I’m NEVER stooping to asking Waryk for it. I chalk it up to another piece of my life lost; it doesn’t matter. It was elven anyway. I don’t want it back! I try to convince myself it doesn’t matter; nothing matters. Only vengeance. Only watching Farl die and Aldritch burn! I just want to get away from everyone. I don’t want to run into the damn cheetahs again, though, so I find a small spot that looks secluded in the village, with no people by it. I stare straight ahead and try to push the emotions I feel down into the dark, silent box I keep stuffed in a hidden, deep corner of myself. I stuff them in and lock the box back up, like I’ve done so many times before. But this time, they won’t stay locked in. I can’t cry. I don’t care. I’m just here to do a job – nothing else matters! I sit heavily and when I do, it’s like the emotions I’ve been holding back my whole life come crashing into me like a careening boulder. I won’t fucking cry though- crying is for the weak and the dead or soon-to-be dead.

But, as much as I try to stave them off; to bury them back in the box I’ve hidden them in all these years, the tears come. And once they start I can’t turn them off. I cry so violently I feel my whole body begin to ache and throb with the pain of it – like someone came along and pummeled every square inch of skin and muscle I have. It hurts! Everything is a haze of pain as my body shakes violently with the intensity of my grief. I can’t catch my breath and I’m on the ground, frantically ripping off my mask and gulping desperately for air; curled into a tightened ball, weeping with everything I have; the sorrow and anguish overwhelming me; drowning me … I weep for Blink and Lorne, for all the children that I’ve watched suffer and die. I weep for Kaine and for Gareth and Waryk; for their brushes with death and the family they have lost. I weep for nearly causing Kaine’s death. I weep for all the times I never let myself do so; for the family I once had but will now never know; will never be accepted by if they even are still out there. In the raw and carving pain of true grief, I know that, in my heart of hearts, I would have chosen the happy life I had seen in my vision. Would have chosen love and light instead of the anger and hurt in my soul. The reminder of what could have been leaves me battered as I wonder how broken I truly am. Wonder at the parts of me that felt I deserved what Farl had done; had deserved the pain and sorrow for my betrayal of Blink; had wanted the pain to stave off and fill the empty cavern inside of myself; the emptiness that I never admitted was there. I know now why I had never truly stood up to him – had always stayed in spite of the torture and the death I saw so often running under him. Why I had never defected to another gang of Streets. Where do I go from here? My sole purpose is shattered; the one thing holding the splintered pieces of myself together and I find myself doubting the path. I weep until my tears run dry; and then I weep some more. I weep until my throat is hoarse and burning, until my body is trembling and shaking uncontrollably. I weep and keen, oblivious of anything else around me. I weep and the pain of it will be the death of me…

Eventually, the world turns dark as I slip into blessed oblivion; my body past the point of exhaustion and unable to even manage the trance-like sleep I usually enjoy. I fall into deep unconsciousness as my body tries to right itself once more.

…and in that moment, when she is truly and deeply asleep, Lunara’s anger and pain melt away and her face smooths softly, showing the child inside; the one the world never gets to see…

From Lunara to her family…

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