when water is as thick as blood
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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#1
WESSEX
out of the night that covers me
Crimson Cataract.

Well that’s as good a place as any to start looking for red lichen - cause Wessex knows there isn’t any red moss anywhere in the Hollowed Grounds’ Woodlands. And even though she grumbles about having to do a tertiary task, she has to admit that she’s brought this on herself and that also, it’s a fair trade. Unfortunately, this is a task best done with a smidgen of daylight, so the Ascended waits until the sun starts to dip below the treeline before she heads out for the Greatwood.

It’s easier to find the red pool with the map, once she knows the general direction to head in there is both the sound of the waterfall and the smell of fresh water to guide her in and amongst the trees. None of them seem to move while she can see them, but there is now a sense of hyper-awareness for her surroundings that she’s rarely had while in the Hollowed Grounds. Moving as quickly as her body will allow (there is some residual sluggishness), Wessex stops for a moment to look curiously at the ruby-red waters - clear as they are, she can see the red plant and its clinging, spreading ways.

Wessex takes out a knife and advances to the nearest clump, trying to decide how much she needs to harvest.

Amalia
black as the pit from pole to pole
i thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#2
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
Amalia finds the place unintentionally, as she has found all things within the woods. Free to wander but wholly without purpose: thus is the way she enters the forest, a new adventure laid out each time. At least the trees do not reject her, spit her out and send her spiraling back and back again. The woods have accepted her - or, more accurately, accepted the whale, but Amalia will take what she can get. Her goal is only to explore, as it has ever been. Clad in the skin of a leopardess she strides with confidence on winding paths, ever seeking something new, some knowledge or secret left behind by careless, wayward Fae. Jyoti rests across her shoulders, still young and easily exhausted despite her spirited soul. Together they cast starlight and shadows, padding barefoot across the underbrush toward something red and wild.

It is a waterfall, they find, thundering from outcroppings into a crimson pool, bloodshot and reminiscent of the staff within her hands. And against the red, a silhouette, familiar yet unsettling, heavy with memories and things unsaid. Abandonment, apologies, firebird skies- has it really been so long since they spoke, seasons of absence and weights in her chest? So much has changed in that time, and part of her wants to run to the woman, to wrap her arms around the Ascended who is something like family in her mind, spew her hurt and fears and triumphs, be soothed and answered and reassured.

She does not run. She does not embrace. She does not say the things on her tongue. She stands behind the red-lit woman and grips her staff and waits, her voice an alto note beneath the water, strained by a million things unsaid. "Wessex?"
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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Posts: 1,080
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#3
WESSEX
out of the night that covers me
Without turning around, her hands busy at their task and the blade scratching irksomely aaginst the stone, Wessex smiles a little half-smile, one side of her mouth turned upwards for the water to see. “Hello Amalia,” she says warmly the young woman, as if she was once again the babysitter pretending to have eyes in the back of her head. Now, however, it’s the sound of her footsteps, her smell - though there is something else there, she doesn’t know what it is. What does a starwhale smell like? Like the metallic lightning of Ronin? The sea? The sugar and spice and warmth of its bonded?

It has been a long time. They are long overdue for a talk, but then there has also been conflict. The Ascended knows Ama is an ardent devotee of Safrin, that if she had been present she might even have stood against the night-walkers as they worked to free The Voice. Rory’s told her enough about LongNight that she’d forgiven the girl for running off without her. Not everyone things clearly at that age - Wessex knows she certainly didn’t.

And of course, the older woman hears talk around the settlement. She may not know specifics, but she does know the baker has been quite busy. Part of her is envious. Part of her sighs and thinks the goodwill and popularity that she enjoys is such a waste of potential and power. Part of her knows it isn’t the Chandrakant girl’s path. So as she puts a piece of lichen into a small pouch, she casts her eyes over her shoulder at the adventurer and pauses at the sight of Jyoti. Well. She has been busy, hasn’t she?

“I see we have some catching up to do,” comes with a bemused expression. It is as much invitation as it is a demand. Sit, girl. No time like the present.
black as the pit from pole to pole
i thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,949
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#4
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
The ability of Wessex to always know where she is is something Amalia will never understand, infinitely setting the girl on edge. A half-smile answers the woman's warm greetings, sheepish and insecure. Jyoti shifts and twists and stirs, intrigued by this new sort of relationship, a strange collection of muddled emotions which leaves the girl in waves. Amalia for her part tries not to dwell: there are too many things to pick just one, and if the thinks upon them all she will drown beneath it all.

She waits, a child once again, for her elder to guide her actions and thoughts. Guidance is something the girl relishes: which is not to say she is not independent. More it is a reflection of how long she has been on her own, directing her own actions, never knowing if the path she travels is correct. There are few guideposts in the baker's life, but Wessex has always been one of them.

Though given the divisiveness of recent events, it is hard to say whether that will change.

There is so much to say that she cannot know where to start, but Wessex once more acts as guide. "We do," Amalia agrees, raising her hand to stroke the starwhale who sits upon her back. "This is Jyoti. She fell out of the sky during a storm while I was captured by the Far, and I flew up to rescue her, and now I guess we're bonded." It is the tl;dr version, straightforward and devoid of the emotions that lurk beneath. It is the only way she has been able to tell it: hide the anger, hide the fear. Facts are all the girl can look at, because everything else is too heavy to hold.
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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#5
WESSEX
out of the night that covers me
How could they even begin to explain their relationships? It could never be as it once was, de facto babysitter and child, turned neighbor, wanderer, devotee. They stand on two separate precipices; a tentative, reinforced but worn bridge separating them, each wooden slat a choice that took them further from each other. Wessex never expected to care about Amalia, and she’s almost positive the girl never expected to actually like an Ascendant. But here they are. And even Jyoti can feel the apprehension and tension in the air. It could go so many ways.

She scooches around to give Amalia more of her attention, knife still busy on the wet stone, carefully scraping away good pieces of lichen and then shaking natural debris from its spongey lengths.

She smiles, pausing to look up at the whale. Extending a hand, but fully prepared for the calf to refuse to come close, Wessex says with genuine awe, “Jyoti. She’s beautiful…” Eventually, she withdraws her hand, whether or not her offer is accepted, and she turns her attention to Amalia. Another eyebrow raise. “So. You were captured by the Fae? And.. then they let you go?" Her lips purse together a little, brow knitting with the last question. "And you flew?” Because last time she checked, Amalia wasn’t an Attuned. Or Abandoned.

But then, they have almost been avoiding each other. Because if they met, it would mean that after the niceties there would have to be words about what happened at the Spire. About The Old Gods and the New. And where they stand - where they will have to stand, when it all comes down around their heads again.
black as the pit from pole to pole
i thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#6
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
Jyoti is never one to refuse affection, especially when she feels connection between the offering party and her soulmate. Because it is true: Amalia feels affection for the woman, an affection born from proximity and bred in loss, shared experiences and lessons learned. Things were simple in those days, when Wessex was the babysitter, the role model, and Amalia was Accepted, and the world was small.

The world is bigger now, and bigger means more complicated. Amalia watches Jyoti and Wessex with a twisted feeling in her gut, half longing, half fear, all nostalgic and cruel. The starwhale swims neatly around the woman, investigating her work, the crimson moss, before coming once more to drift near Amalia, starlight shimmering in her wake. Idly the girl runs fingers across her back, nodding in response to the barrage of questions. "They let me go because of Jyo. Starwhales are sacred to them." Again, a small answer, not the full story, because there is a more important question brewing, a larger challenge to endure.

"And you flew?"

There has always been a space between them, gaps that keep them from being quite friends. Wessex is her senior by nearly twenty years, closer to her mother than the girl. Wessex sees the world in crisp shades of grey, and Amalia sees a continuous spectrum, never quite sure what color things are. Wessex is stone and Amalia is water, shifting and changing, beating against the world, filling the spaces where she is needed and slowly, slowly, carving out her own.

But of course, most importantly, Wessex is Ascended, and Amalia is Attuned. They have chosen opposing sides in a war older and fiercer and bigger than themselves.

"Yes. As an owl." Brief, but Wessex will understand what it means, the implications clear in her intonation, the way she shifts against her own skin, her expression apologetic and defiant, glittering emotion in her eyes. A gift from the Old Gods, her gods- a line in the sand.

She glances at the ground then, not really sure what more to say. There are a million things, but none seem appropriate, nothing feels right upon her tongue. I'm sorry. I'm changing. I miss you. I'm afraid. It is like speaking to her mother, she realizes. Amalia had never known what to say to Rishima, how she would react; but oh, she had ached to say it all, to find solace in her mother's arms. So she says something smaller, a lead-in to more, a strange and stupid comment with an obvious reply. "What are you doing?"
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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#7
WESSEX
out of the night that covers me
Her short explanations remind Wessex of when she would try not to directly fib by telling just parts of the truth, twisting back and forth and biting her lip. The Ascended looks down with a small smile. There’s the crux of it - their relationship never evolved, never rmoved past adult and child. And that doesn’t work right now, because they are adult and adult. Equals. Still stone and water, yes, still see the world differently. Amalia will never walk the vicious path that Wessex had, for all she thinks her thoughts to be cruel; more importantly, Wessex would never want her to lose the kindness and compassion that makes the young baker the darling of Caido.

They all play their necessary roles. But they don’t have to follow the old rules.

Having peeled a third and fouth piece off the rocks, Wessex stashes the bag and knife and plants her butt on the damp surface. “Lanoch is making me a couple of pieces, and he asked for the red lichen in return.” Her own mostly-truth. Sitting cross-legged, all she wants to do is for time to rewind (back when their families were alive, when their thoughts were only of tomorrow, and not what’s beyond the barrier), for the little girl to crawl into her lap and for Wessex to drill her on herb uses.

Instead, she pats the ground. “Sit with me?” She waits for the girl to comply, because Wessex knows she will. If nothing else, the woman is absolutely no threat to Ama, and there is enough between them for that small offer of respect. “Let’s talk like adults. You’ve never known me as anything other than a babysitter and pseudo-mother, and therefore never a real person. I never told you why I chose to Ascend, did I?”

The question is implied. She can stay and listen, or she can retreat behind her line in the sand. The choice is hers, for this is Wessex’s giant, bigger-than-the-two-of-them olive branch
black as the pit from pole to pole
i thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,949
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#8
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
"Lanoch..." She remembers something, distantly, about the woman and the glass-maker's father, though at the moment she cannot exactly place what the rumor was. Infinitely curious she tilts her head, the question escaping before she can catch it, born on soft wings into the wind. "What kind of pieces?" But it is enough: Wessex is seated now, an invitation extended, the ground now their even playing field. Ever obedient (was she ever obedient?) Amalia steps forward, closing the gap and then lowering herself, her cross-legged posture mirroring the blonde's. Her fingers dig nervously, picking up stones and bringing them to her lap, anxiety pattering in her chest. Amalia has never minded dirt and mud, does not fear to dirty clothes that long ago were ruined by the follies of youth. She is more afraid of what Wessex will say, returning to the role of pupil, of child, ready as ever to be chastised or taught.

Instead, another invitation: to speak as equals, as both adults. Amalia's head flies up abruptly, surprise in almond, onyx eyes. She wants to say she is not an adult, but that isn't true, has not been for years- only she wants it to be desperately, wants to trust in the wisdom of others and return to childish ignorance. Some small part of her had hoped this would be that, that Wessex would offer absolution, relief, slip into the role of babysitter-cum-mentor and let her once more sit at her knee.

Part of her knows that this is better. Part of her wishes it wasn't so.

"You didn't," Amalia replies simply, her dark gaze not leaving the woman's blue, even as her hands continue to fidget, picking up stones and sifting through sand. It is an old quality, this restlessness, but the attentiveness is too. What is new is the simplicity of the acceptance, the unspoken invitation for her to go on. There was a time when Amalia would be bold and impetuous, would not want to hear the blasphemy of why any would want to Ascend.

But that was before the world broke open, and her perception broke with it, and she learned there was more than her small, simple life. Before she fucked gods and fell in love with an Outlander, before she watched the Spire shatter and stepped beyond the circle of decay. The Amalia Wessex meets today is older, milder, a little more cautious but open as well. She does not hide behind absolutes; she is willing to listen, to hear other sides. She wants to know the woman better, as surely as she wants to be known.
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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Posts: 1,080
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#9
WESSEX
Almost as tense as Amalia, Wessex holds her own reservations in, winds them tightly around her tik-tok core like a spring. Her heart will not race in anticipation. Her pupils will not dilate. Her hands will not resort to nervous habits in order to compensate, but that doesn’t mean her thoughts are running a mile a minute, trying to form the right combination of words to play the diplomat she’s never been. She’s run through life with a sledgehammer, a machete, and a loud mouth; bulldozing, cutting down, and yelling when logic didn’t prevail. But this relationship (old and unique to the two of them as it is)  isn’t something that will survive her normal tactics. She must evolve if she wants it to survive.

This might be her most difficult teaching endeavor; at its core, it relies on Wessex revealing her vulnerabilities and keeping the give-no-fucks facade at bay. A facade, which, given the world they now live in, is a  24/7 mask. It’s not as easy as simply taking it off.

Nevertheless, she will try. For Amalia.

Wessex blinks and nods, looking up and above the girl’s head for a place to begin. When she has it, the words come slowly, as if remembering is painful, as if she has to dig deep into the earth and wipe the bloody sludge off the bones of her past. “I don’t think you ever met my mother, but she was devout. So was Magrethe, and even me, for a long time. We did our duties to Safrin, Frey, and Ludo. Even to Vi when things were dire. My mother - every small response she got kept her coming back. Same with Magrethe. But to me, it eventually felt like they were teasing us, keeping us on the hook by giving us just enough to keep the faith burning bright. Because when the time came and it counted most. When they were ill and dying. Despite their fervent prayers, their offerings, no one answered. I carried them to the shrines. I pulled long vigils, begging for powers, for an answer, for a hint of something. Nothing. No one came.” She pauses, and with a soft sigh, looks back at Amalia. “They turned their backs on me and mine long before I decided to try something new.”

She swallows, looking down at her hands. “So when I got the first symptoms of the sickness, I wasn’t going to chance it. I wasn’t ready to die. And it was clear that no one was going to help me unless I helped myself.” Back to Amalia for the kicker, though her voice remains steady an calm. Just the facts. “When they tried to burn me with sunlight at a shrine after I Ascended, actively tried to kill me, who had done nothing but make a choice in order to survive? Well... That was that for me.”

Not everyone was as beloved as Amalia. Some fell through the cracks. Some made choices for survival. Some were forced to changed. It isn’t as black and white as the Gods make it out to be. And ambition doesn’t equal evil.
No, I’ll be the stone
I’ll be the hunter, a tower that casts the shade
I lie awake and watch it all
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#10
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
Amalia does not interrupt, her almond gaze fixated on the woman as she speaks, silently listening, attentive as a child at her teacher's knee. Cross legged upon the rocky ground, she strokes the whale calf's starlit back, absently fidgeting, moving, never at peace. Wessex is right: she did not know the woman's mother, but she remembers Magrethe, a brighter, sunnier version of the Ascended who sits before her now. She remembers seeing her in the bakery, another one of the older children who would help her grandmother work. And she remembers her being reverent, as her grandmother was, as her mother was not.

She remembers hearing that they had died, the Theskyra women. She'd said a prayer to Mort, lit a lamp for Ludo, and gone about her life, because what was there to do in their world except continue living? It was the greatest thing they could do, her grandmother would say. Go on living for the ones who were lost. Vi would not want us to waste away in anguish, though Amalia had done exactly that, atrophied and agonized in the years since she lost everyone, became a shade of the girl she had been.

But she hadn't given up, she hadn't surrendered. Even in her darkest times, Amalia had not relinquished that which she had been given, had not abandoned life and blood for some inorganic, false release. A frown pulls between her brows, and she pulls her gaze at last from Wessex, worrying at her lip. She does not blame the woman for her choices. But that doesn't mean she agrees.

"When my... My nani died, my mother said many of the same things." 'Where were her Gods when she needed them?! Did Mort break his silence to save her? Did Safrin save her from the night?' Stripping a leaf between her nails, the girl sighs. "And then she died, too, and I wondered. I wondered if we'd been forsaken, if this was punishment for our sins." She swallows. It is a difficult admission, for one so devout to confess to doubt, own up to thoughts of darkness and despair. I'm sorry, Safrin, Vi.

"My nani used to say that we are like the fish in the Oasis. We think the world is the water around us, and that we are the most important thing in it. But there are other fish, and outside of that the Glade, and the Fields and Woodlands and beyond that even more. And every part of it is just as important as our pond." It's a dumb metaphor, maybe, but it comforts her. Her grandmother had been rich with such sayings, and Amalia clings to them like life buoys at sea.

"The gods have to take care of the world. So we have to take care of ourselves. It doesn't mean they don't love us... They do. But they can't do everything. They made the world for us. We just have to do our best. If one fish gets sick it's sad. But if a disease starts to threaten the whole world..."

-And she swallows, because this is the terrible part, because she doesn't want to say the thing she knows to be true, doesn't want to widen that divide between them, doesn't want to admit to the woman who is almost family what she believes of her choices, her gods, because being an adult is hard and shitty and she hates it-

"-They have to burn it out."

Because in the end, that's what the Voice is: a disease, a virus, a blight upon the body of the world. The gods had quarantined it to spare the lives of their ancestors, but still it wriggled free and escaped, infected, spread and spread insidiously, a toxin on the Earth.

Wessex is not a toxin, but she has aligned herself with one. And while Amalia may understand, may empathize, she can never agree with the woman's choice.

They are opposite ends of a bridge, and the ropes that hold it up are crumbling.
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
Played by: Astor Offline
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#11
WESSEX
Wessex is quiet for a long, long time, letting the silence divide them for too many minutes. In one second, she feels the impulse to rip the stupid girl to shreds, to shake her, to knock some goddamn sense into her brainwashed head. In another, she feels the urge to laugh and walk away, abandoning her fealty to the girl entirely. None of her imagined montage of actions are kind, so ultimately she does nothing, she simply sits and watches and does not breathe.

She has a singular question to ask her first, and the Ascended does so with a stare that is designed to bore into Amalia. Not with malice, no, never malice. Pity, perhaps. Or knowledge. Wessex forms the words in her mouth long before she opens it, but when she does, her words seem quite calm and calculated. On her answer hinges… everything.

"So you think I should have let myself die, then? Slowly. Painfully. Rather than save myself?"
No, I’ll be the stone
I’ll be the hunter, a tower that casts the shade
I lie awake and watch it all
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#12
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
The silence falls like a curtain between them, the slicing of a knife. Part of her had hoped, had prayed, that it would be different. There is a dream she has, that the honesty, the hard truths, will only bring them closer; that by looking at the points of their separation they will be able to bridge those gaps, to bind more strongly through misunderstandings, to love each other despite the divide. Isn't that what adulthood is: managing when things are not the way you want, learning to accept the world despite its disappointments?

Isn't it supposed to be easier, now?

Seconds, minutes, hours; Amalia cannot say how long it has been, only that it is far too long, the silence oppressive in the wake of her admission, that final sentence a haunting echo between the women on the bank. Staring at her hands, the girl swallows against her ash-filled mouth, wishing she could retract the words, swallow her sentences and mute her mind. I'm sorry, she wants to cry aloud. I'm sorry. I hate it. I wish it was different.

But it isn't. It will never be.

When Wessex finally breaks the silence, Amalia does not want to meet her gaze. But she owes the older woman that much (and more), and so, reluctantly, she raises her head, black eyes touching piercing blue, trying not to recoil and shrink beneath the strength of the Ascended's stare. It takes her a second to process the question, but as soon as she does her expression changes, childlike fear twisting to incredulous passion, disbelief rampant across her brow. "No!" Amalia exclaims with vehemence, no second thought behind the words. "I wouldn't- I never- I don't think you should have died! But..."

But there's the rub, because part of her does think that Wessex should have died - or rather, that someone in Wessex's place should have, should have accepted the way of the world instead of trying to bend nature to their own will. But not Wessex - not her Wessex - except - except - except-

Dropping her head to hide her tears, Amalia shakes it angrily, her long hair falling across her eyes. "I don't know," she says at last, exhales into that stagnant space, a confession of doubt in every direction. She feels rudderless, lost, unable to easily answer the questions which are so much bigger than her. Amalia knows what she believes, but she knows what she feels, too, and with every piece of her being she is grateful that Wessex is alive, even if it is a lesser version of the woman, twisted and corrupt.

Even if, yes, she thinks the choice the older woman made is inherently selfish and wrong. Because at the end of the day Amalia is selfish, too, and she has been willing to overlook the transgression to cling to the dwindling pieces of her past, the person she treasures and values and loves. She has opted to simply not think about the cost, or the meaning, or the fact that it places them on opposite sides. And it has worked, it has worked,but it isn't working now, and the girl is lost in a tumultuous sea, the impending loss already crushing her, pushing in against her lungs---

"I don't know."
Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Explorer

Age: 40 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural
Level: 4 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
LOKI - Mythical - Dragon (Energy Blast)
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#13
WESSEX
Sometimes you have to push to make your point. To lead another to the brink and show them the fallout before they can safely return to the guardrail. Sometimes it is with a gentle, guiding hand, and other times it is with cold calculation, with tempestuous force and a ramrod spine, an iron stomach.

The bridge has been severed. On one side, the dissonance of reality has frayed the ropes, the admission of not knowing whether Wessex should have lived or died is the final straw. The slats clatter into the abyss, hitting the stone wall deep below the misty nothingness of uncertainty and dark grey emotions that lay muddled between the two women. The Ascended is angry, yes, but moreso disappointed in the young woman that sits before her, crying and lost when faced with the difficulties of life. She makes no move to comfort, no gestures that say this will be okay, it will sort itself out. Because it might not.

Whatever happens, it won’t be up to Wessex. Amalia is the one who must mend this bridge - or not.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” the older woman finally says, managing to find her voice, though her throat seemed to grow thick and immobile for a couple of minutes. “Considering that I took the same journey as Ronin, more or less. Have you considered that? We are the same miracle, to some extent.” And did Amalia not weep for Wessex, upon her death? Was she not overjoyed to find her alive again? Does it truly matter who does the resurrecting, if happiness if the same outcome?

Wessex rises smoothly and begins to wipe the dirt and specks of plant life from her clothing. “I have never been against anyone’s worship of the Old Gods. I might personally have my issues, but never plotted to destroy their religion. All you’ve ever heard is one side of the story. I do not claim to be right, but I do exercise my right to live freely. To think for myself.” She sighs and looks away, towards the Hollowed Grounds. “I’ve always shown up when needed. Been reliable to those I love. And I’ll continue to show up for you until the time I have to defend myself and my Lady against you.”

Another long pause, in which Wessex looks at the girl, at the beautiful, passionate, kind woman she has become and wonders how she missed the religious fervor, how she could have been so blind to the single-mindedness as it developed. Deep down, there is a sense of failure. But perhaps it was better to get this out in the open, so that if - or when - the time comes that they’re on opposite sides, they will be prepared.

Wessex will have lost everything, then. Everything except her brethren, for she can’t imagine any of their mutual acquaintances ever choosing herself over Amalia. And so, almost hoarsely, as if she is trying to hold back the image of standing alone again, she finishes with a quiet wish. “I truly hope that time never comes.”
No, I’ll be the stone
I’ll be the hunter, a tower that casts the shade
I lie awake and watch it all
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,949
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#14
Amalia
'Cause she's just like the weather
Can't hold her together
Born from dark water
Daughter of the r a i n and s n o w
Tears bite at her eyes, threatening to fall onto her hands, on the whale who rests upon her lap. Every one of Wessex's words is another lash, another wound opening across her brittle hide. She winces at the comparison to Ronin, unable to bring up the fact that that resurrection, too, caused her to be taken aback. What is the point? What is the point of any of it, of her explanations and honesty, her attempts at fair exchange? Let's talk like adults, Wessex said, and Amalia had tried, she truly had, but clearly she is still a child. Somewhere in the process the girl failed, stumbled and fell so much lower than she started, the tentative bond forged by fire and blood so swiftly shattered by her foolish youth.

Wessex rises, and for a moment Amalia considers reaching out, stopping her from escaping, clinging to her legs and begging for a chance, for things to go back to the way they were. But what is the point? The older woman has clearly made her choice, and Amalia has already ruined things enough. I have never plotted to destroy their religion- and the baker winces in full now, recoiling as though slapped, curling deeper in on herself as Wessex towers above her, a pillar of judgment, the last thing she has which resembles family finding her wanting and slipping away. I didn't say that! she wants to yell; I never said you cannot live!

I never wanted to hurt you-

I only wanted to make you proud.


The silence is oppressive, a weighty and swollen cloud on her shoulders, heavy with the sort of rain that can wipe away histories, leave floods and mudslides in its wake. Over and over and over again Amalia replays Wessex's words, trying to determine where she went wrong, what she could have possibly done to ignite such thinly veiled hatred and contempt. Plotted to destroy... my right to live freely... defend myself from you... Are these the things Wessex thinks of her, the things Amalia is? Is she truly so monstrous, so cold and uncaring and juvenile and bad? Does Wessex really hate her, as much as it now seems? How is she any different than Wessex, in the end? What has she done but followed her beliefs, been honest about the things she knows to be right, whether the Ascended agrees or not?

When did she fail so miserably? It is fitting that Amalia has always viewed Wessex as mother figure, because she is certain she has not felt so miserably small and ineffective since her last fight with Rishima, shortly after her Nani's death. Stupid, stupid, she tells herself, her fingernails extending into claws, digging into the skin of her curled fists, pinpricks of blood appearing on her palms. Worthless, forgotten, left behind. Jyoti utters a croon of protest as the girl tightens further in, as though by coiling up she might vanish, disappear into a pocket of nothingness and leave this world where all she does is make mistake after mistake.

She wishes she could turn into an owl and simply fly away.

She does not look up to watch Wessex walk away, the last of her history leaving her behind, family rejecting her in one fell swoop. Desperately she hopes to wake up, to find this is all a terrible dream, to reach out and grab the woman and force her to stay. She doesn't, of course - doesn't move, doesn't lift her head, just remains frozen by the ice of Wessex's words, the weight of her own failures pressing on her shoulders, a smothering and suffocating blanket of doubt falling upon her soul. "I'm sorry," Amalia whispers into her knees, the ground, her eyes pressed closed, her face hidden by hair. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."


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