Running out of air
for Amalia
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 3,481
MP:
#1
He didn't like how irritable he'd been, how anger and resentment sparked and seethed at the barest excuse. Arrogance had always been a vice of his, but pride had now joined it, choking his words while weariness stole his energy to care about the consequences of his sharp tongue. Rory, at least, was a bastion in the tumult, something solid he could cling to while he fought to regain himself.

Edy had been a wake-up call, a reminder of everything that he still had to lose.

Her death had shaken something loose in him, grief overcoming the numbness and resentful temper that had kept him tucked away from the world while he struggled with his failures and guilt. Ludo's revelation had given him a name and a cause, the knowledge terrifying but also oddly comforting. At least he knew, now. And if the clock was ticking down...

He didn't want to leave things as they currently were, on edge and full of confusion and hurt. He had been given the gift of time to put things in order, and he just hoped that he could control the disease that had taken root in his veins long enough to make use of it.

The sun was warm against his cloaked back as he pushed open the door to Devas Bakery, but the wind was cool enough that the bakery's heat was welcome, even if it couldn't penetrate his perpetually-chilled skin. Gloves covered his hands to hide their shaking, and Isuma perched on his shoulder, the little gryphon chirruping eager greetings as she took flight to look for Jyoti.

" Amalia ?" he called tentatively. "Are you in?"
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: 1,963
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#2
Some things have changed dramatically.

The Spire is a teetering skeleton of its former eerie majesty, a crumbling monolithic monument to their countless past mistakes, a last and lingering representation of all they were before. Sometimes Amalia looks up at it as she walks from Deimos' house before dawn, shivering at its mockery of all she used to know. Once, it says, The world was small, and though you could have understood it, you chose instead to hid.

Now the world is bigger than you ever imagined possible, and you will never understand.


She tries not to look very often. She tries to keep her eyes on the stars, her thoughts on the future, her hopes on the horizon. She tries to make sure each step is a step forward, toward a tomorrow that at last makes sense. Long Night is coming, and the days are growing short. They need to find answers before the darkness takes them. They need to find a cure. Sighing, Amalia shakes her head, pushing open the bakery door and stepping inside, Jyoti lighting the way.

Some things are the same as they have always been.

She has always found solace in work, comfort in purpose, whatever it may be. Sometimes those purposes are lofty ambitions: finding tomes and saving souls, slaying darkness and building shrines. Usually, though, her work is simple. Flour and water and yeast and salt, mixed by the magic of nature, by slender fingers and wooden spoons. Amalia has always found something beautiful in baking, mystified and magnetized by it as a youth. She would watch, enraptured, as her grandmother created loaves of bread, crafting something warm and wholesome from ingredients tasteless on their own.

If only it were as easy to make sense of life as it is to fold a loaf of bread.

Amalia is kneading when the front door opens, a wafting rush of cold air pulling at her golden locks. The chill of it is nothing compared to the feeling inspired by the voice, both familiar and distant, one she knows as well as any and one she has not heard in some time. Freezing, she does not look up from her work, though her arms are rigid and her fingers tense, statuesque and poised as she thinks through the days, the weeks, since she saw him last. The basement, the Cloister, the spire, the blight.

Swallowing, the baker raises black eyes, her expressive face uncharacteristically still. "Hello, Jigano. What can I do for you today?"
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#3
She stood there as he'd so often seen her, floured to her elbows and working the dough of her latest loaf, bringing life and comfort to so many of the Hollowed Grounds with the skill of her hands and the warmth of her soul. But he saw, too, the tension that turned her shoulders stiff and the way she froze in place, still as stone and refusing to meet his eyes at first. The gaze that she turned up to him eventually was distant, giving back less than the Spire, and he swallowed the pain in his chest at the sight of it. He had expected cold welcome, but it still hurt to receive it, and he tucked his hands more firmly against his sides to try and warm them against the chill inside the bakery even more than the leafchange air outside.

"Bread, for the farm. And... to talk to you, if you have some time," he found himself saying, the words he had planned to begin with shriveling like blighted blossoms on his tongue. Her lack of expression kept him from entering further, lingering near the door in case she asked him to leave again. Isuma looked back at him worriedly, circling to land on his shoulder and then crawl down into the arm he reflexively lifted to hold her as she peeped quietly at him, encouraging her companion to be strong. He smiled tiredly down at the gryphlet. "It's alright," he reassured her softly. "Go play with Jyoti, if you can find her."
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#4
Anger prickles beneath her skin, an easier defense than openness, than honesty, than looking at the wounds; Amalia swallows the ire down and drops her onyx eyes. She does not ask the bard to leave, nor does she invite him in further. In truth, Amalia is at a loss for words, unable to tame her wild emotions into anything coherent enough to say aloud. Stress and anxiety have worn on the girl: she has fought many battles in the past seasons, and the last thing she wants is to fight with him, to pick apart wounded pride, to be the bigger person when it is hard to be strong.

Jigano's purpose is a simple enough one, and Amalia shrugs her easy agreement, still unwilling to make the first step. "Alright," she answers simply, gesturing to the seat across the counter, an invitation for him to speak. Glancing up at the pair again, the baker smiles at Isuma, finding the companion guiltless in this all. "Jyoti is in the garden if you want to go fetch her. Jigano, would you like some tea?"
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#5
A flash of heat and then her eyes were hidden from him, and he winced within, trying to hold back the spark of vicious temper that railed at her distance, her anger, her hurts. He had a name for it, a cause of it, and he fought to master it - fought and won, for the moment, thanks to Isuma's timely interruption and the support she so unstintingly gave him, giving his anger nothing to find purchase on.

At least he wasn't thrown out, handed sullen bread for Rory's sake and shown the door. Her invitation might have been grudging - or was he simply reading it that way, his guilt coloring her gesture? - but it still was an invitation, and he took it with cautious relief, and no little trepidation that he now had to follow through on his request to talk.

Isuma chirruped gratefully at Amalia, letting Jigano launch her lightly so she could pounce on the baker's shoulder and give her big sister a nuzzle of greeting before abandoning both humans for the company of her favorite starwhale. Jigano watched her go with a soft smile that faded as he turned back to Amalia, drawing in a slow breath. "Tea would be welcome, thank you," he said formally - and then winced at the distance in his tone. "Amalia... I..." The words were there, but as he slid into the offered seat they felt thick in this throat, and wholly inadequate for what he wanted to convey. "You look well," he said instead, awkward and uncertain how to proceed. "I'm glad. I...have not known what to do. Whether you wanted to see me again or not," he admitted quietly at last.
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#6
There is something dangerous in her stillness, as though it exists only to hold the inferno that rages within her at bay- and in a sense, it does. Behind the black and flinty eyes there is pain and anger, hurt and disbelief, a growing aggravation with the man before her who dances lightly around every wound, never quite saying what he means.

Amalia has never been good at dancing. She has never excelled in puzzles or challenges pertaining to subtlety and wit. A blunt instrument, she does not know how to skirt around struggles except through silence and repression, and so she does so now.

Without a word the baker nods, her gaze far from Jigano as she turns the dough out to the counter before moving away to fetch the pot, filling it with water from a nearby bucket and setting it upon the stove. It is only when she returns and he makes his admission that the girl glances up, sharply, something bewildered and wounded briefly in her face before it is shuttered again. "I heard you were sick," she replies softly, returning to kneading her loaf. "I looked for you." She shrugs. You did not want to be found.
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#7
Everything felt so fragile and sharp between them, a humming promise of catastrophe in the air. The gulf between them was one of his own making, Jigano knew, but that didn't make it any easier for him to admit it. He and Kiada had already argued once, the caracal following him when he had been in no place to bow to her whims... but he had made the choice to come to the bakery today, knowing how things would likely go thanks to the Harpy's sharp words and growls, and he drew an unsteady breath, trying to steel himself against the distance in the eyes of the woman he called sister.

"I was," he said simply. "Rory looked for me, too, but..." he shook his head, looking briefly towards the garden where Isuma played, throat tightening on the admission. He, who was a keeper of memories, did not know how to admit that he had lost so many. Still, if any would understand the weight of it, it would be one of the Loreseekers. "I fell asleep in the farmhouse, sick. With a fever. I woke up in the Glade nearly a week later, shifted into my fox form. I don't... know how I got there, or what happened in between. I only know how much time had passed because Rory told me how long I'd been missing." He rubbed his gloved hands together uneasily, then shook his head to try and dispel the frightening sense of powerlessness he had felt upon regaining consciousness and realizing he had lost time. "It doesn't matter." Only someone with an animal's nose could have found him sooner, and who would think to look for him like that, if they thought he was only sulking? "Thank you... for coming to the farm," he bit back the 'at least', knowing it was petty and that he wanted to snap and snarl like he had at Kiada but--

No. He had to police his temper now more than he ever had before. Any spark he let through could spark a blaze he'd quickly lose control of, and he had caused enough damage already.
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#8
She listens to him explain his absence, though why he believes she would not want to see him remains a secret unrevealed. The tale of illness makes Amalia soften, empathy and affection momentarily shining in her face. "And now?" the Shield of Safrin asks softly, biting her lip and inspecting him closely for any telltale signs. "Are you well?"

He thanks her for coming to the farm, as though it were exceptional for her to care. Signing softly, Amalia looks away, her face closed off and troubled once more, a line between her brows as her ire begins to rise. "Why didn't you send word? Or come visit? That night, you just left, and I-" was afraid.

Swallowing down a breath, Amalia tries to calm down her rising voice, to keep her haywire emotions in check. The seams have begun to tear, however, the dam in danger of breaking forth. She looks at Jigano again and her face is not blank: there is the ghost of a wound upon her countenance, and insecurity, and betrayal.
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#9
The softening of her expression pulled at him, a care he wanted to reach out for and wrap himself in, to soothe the wounds that still festered, unhealed and suppurating beneath his skin. Ah, but he could not, not now. He had done what he had said he wouldn't do: he had let her down, had stopped trying, and now... now...

He couldn't take advantage of her gentle heart to twist the past or play on unearned sympathy. She really was too good for him, this Shield who baked sustenance for bodies and souls and carried the weight of the Settlement on her slim shoulders. "I'm recovering," he said, smiling wanly. He looked gaunt, as if he wasn't eating enough, and weary, though he had looked tired even before his disappearance. He had tucked his hands beneath the counter so she wouldn't see their shaking, however. "I have good days and bad ones, still. At least Rory hasn't come down with what I had, so I don't think I'm contagious." How did the blight spread? It wasn't as though he could test it on other people, and the thought of testing it even on other animals was repugnant to him. Perhaps he would have to go into some sort of quarantine...

But there was too much to do for him to hide away any longer than he already had. Too much to do, and too little time. Always too little time.

"Amalia," he said gently as her voice rose with more 'should have-could haves,' blame falling from her lips like acid rain. "I left with Rory. He has first right of telling me when I've fucked up, and he did that quite thoroughly. You all seemed so angry with me, so certain that what I did was wrong - and then, that what I did after was worse." His voice caught, for it wasn't something that he wanted to bring up again yet. He looked away, hiding his wince as he pretended to study someone walking past the window. "I was... hurt. I didn't want to be scorned and spurned again so soon." Amalia, more than anyone but the blond hunter, knew how fragile the bard had been in those days. Nor was he any stronger now, but he had to focus too tightly on his temper to wallow quite so much since his visit to the shrine. "I thought if I just gave people time to cool down..." He trailed off, a sigh ghosting from his lips. "But I started falling sick the next day. Rory let me come back home but..." But then he had fallen into fever dreams that had taken him away from safety and those who loved him, leaving him weak and confused and alone.

He looked up to see the hurt in her expression, the injured pride that he loved so dearly, and his lips quirked into a wistful, wounded smile without him quite realizing it, his once-flawless mask cracked and showing his emotions clearly in the pain that filled his own eyes, the fear of rejection and the simmer of resentful anger that tinged so much of his thoughts of late. "I'm sorry, Ama. I knew you were angry with me but I didn't mean to hurt you. I had hoped you'd come to make lanterns, but when you didn't I thought... if you were still that angry with me, that you didn't want to see me yet." And in truth, he had been more afraid of her anger and disappointment than he was of the Spire's poison.
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#10
He explains and explains, so good with words, so skilled at crafting a story to follow. Amalia knows that he has been hurting, remembers his tears that night in the woods. She knows that he is fragile, that the ire of others is his Achillies heel, that having voices raised against him in question and consternation is a painful and terrible cross to bear.

But she thought that she was different. She thought that they were family. And it hurts, it hurts, it hurts to see that he fears her as much as everyone else.

Falling sick is reasonable, but after? Why didn't you come? howls in her mind, rages against her stony face, presses and claws inside her heart and makes her want to bite and bleed, to curl up and vanish into the floor. He continues to speak as she turns away, reaching for the kettle to pull it off the stove.

Then he says something that makes her freeze, a sudden wild fury springing up beneath her skin. "When I didn't come?" she replies softly, something dangerous and wounded in her tone. "You didn't invite me. How was I supposed to come to something I didn't know about?" Her hands are shaking, and when she turns around there is a flash of fangs beneath her lips. "You should have come to me. You should have asked if I was angry, if I was safe. You should have trusted me, Jigano- but no. The minute I disagreed with you at all, you decided we were done. You decided I hate you, without even bothering to speak to me."

She sets the kettle on the counter and stares at him above the steam, her catlike eyes hard and furious, her expression wrought with betrayal and pain. "I thought we were family, Jigano. But I guess I was wrong."
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#11
He heard the anger and the pain in her tone, and for a moment he was bewildered at its source. "Everyone was invited. Anyone who wanted to come, at least. I spread the word around the Settlement and the Sea of Branches. I asked Andira to leave a note on your doorstep..." He trailed off at the flash of fangs, an animalistic display of anger she fell into so easily, though she had been Attuned for less than a year. Her words cut at him, sharp and and merciless, and he shuddered as she lashed out and everything he had feared about seeing her again came to pass.

The pulsing knots of darkness in his veins twisted and writhed in simmering frustration, an answering rage building in spite of his intentions to hold it back and control it. "I came here because I didn't think that we were done," he said softly. "Or why do you think I'm here now? I have trusted you, Amalia. I've given you more trust than any other person on two worlds, save Rory. I handed you the weapons to hurt me more deeply than almost any other and yes, I am scared of how deeply you can wound me with them." Less than a year they'd known each other, but in that time they'd saved each other, held each other...

Hurt each other.

He was shaking, he realized, the tremors traveling from his hands to his shoulders and down his spine. Anger and sorrow, betrayal and rage, confusion and denial twisted through him like serpents in his gut, his blood bubbling like boiling tar. "You and Rory and Isuma are all the family I have left," he rasped, taut and aching with the strain of a body that wanted to fight as much as it wanted to flee. "I love you, Amalia Chandrakant, and nothing will change that, but I can still be angry at you. Still be afraid of being hurt by the people I love. And if you really think that I ever thought you hated me... that I could think that about you at all... then I..." He trailed off, jaw clenched too tightly to get more words out as rage and sorrow choked him, his caramel skin gone white as he let loose so much of what he had promised himself that he wouldn't when he had walked in the door.
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#12
Excuse after excuse; can't he see it isn't what she needs, isn't the thing she craves from him? Everyone was invited - I gave a note - "I never got it," she replies simply, sharply, the words bitten out between her teeth. "Maybe if you told me in person. But I am sorry I did not come." If she could apologize for everything, could take it back and repair it all- if only she thought it would matter, she would. I am sorry that you were in that position. I am sorry that I snapped. I am sorry that this space exists between us, a space I do not know how to bridge, a space you seem to only want to widen.

She listens to him speak in silence, anger still rippling through her skin, an anger that needs no fuel but blood and too many years of loneliness, too much time spent without a guide in the darkest recesses of her insecurities. What has she done to deserve this, except everything, every mistake? And what mistake has she made this time - how has she been the one to betray, what has she done, what has she done?

"Why?" she asks, her voice tight with pain, her muscles contracting in her jaw. "Why are you angry with me? You never came to see me. You never spoke to me, at the Trials. You've made it clear that I've hurt you somehow, but you won't tell me what I did. What did I do?"
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,481
MP:
#13
He opened his mouth to snap back at her, to tell her why he didn't come in person: because he was afraid, because he wasn't ready, because he didn't know how to apologize, but instead it was she who apologized, and it stole the air from his lungs as effectively as a punch to his gut. He seemed to deflate, losing inches as his shoulders curved forward and he was forced to swallow past the lump in his throat. Shame and anger twisted there, black and pulsing in time with his heartbeat, a pounding wardrum in his ears that hissed and coaxed and lashed him to snarl and flash his fangs back at her, apology be damned.

He tried to ignore it. He tried to speak past it, to hold it down and find the words that he had come to say in the first place, before they'd scattered like grain in the wind. Part of his heart ached for the pain he'd caused her, longed to reach out and beg for her forgiveness, but he was held rooted to the spot by the tar that dripped through his veins and tinged even his most heartfelt words with an edge of wounded rage.

He heard the naked pain in her voice and it broke something in him, defenses crumbling against her cry, her desperate desire to fix what he had broken. But the defenses that held his pride in check also held back the black tide, and he rose to his feet between one moment and the next, striking out with his shaking arm to knock the kettle away from between them, heedless of the burning metal against his too-cold skin or the near-boiling water that sprayed across the floor. "Because I failed you!" The words were half-wail, half-roar, fangs elongating and claws sprouting black and sharp upon his fingers "I did what I promised you I wouldn't do. I quit that thrice-damned kingship! I stopped trying. How could I face you after that?" He stood there, wild-eyed and trembling, clawed fingers shaking as he flexed them into fists, pricking eight needle points through the skin of his palms and relishing the pain as he was forced to confront the truth.

Amalia had only ever been a scapegoat for his anger, a convenient excuse. It had been himself that he'd been most afraid and resentful at all along.



It always was.
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
Change author:
Posts: 1,963
MP:
#14
She watches him with a predator's eyes, wild and wary, ready to strike if he continues to press against her wounds, to dig his finger upon the scars. Her heart aches, and she wonders if he can feel it, if the sound of her pain is a louder cry than the anger she wears like a shield. I was there for you. I believed in you. I tried and I tried and I tried.

Jigano is tired from illness, and she it tired from the world. She is tired of trying and falling, failing, tired of every good intention becoming a brick in the monument to her futile dreams. From trying to run a bakery to trying to make a king- she tried, and she tried, and it wasn't enough, and the world continued to rage against her while she tried to remain strong. Atlas, she holds them all on her shoulders.

When she needed him to hold her, where did he go?

He lashes out suddenly, the kettle knocked loose from its place on the counter, sending scalding water pouring off the countertop and onto her skin. A sharp gasp of pain; "Ow!" she exclaims, pulling herself away from the burning, less injured than taken aback by the sudden outburst, the flash of rage. She pulls her arms against her chest, the right fore already angry red with burns from his attack. For a moment there is silence stretching between them, trembling, tremulous, a violin's string, their relationship stretched to translucency, fragile enough to break.

And then she shudders, realization painting a picture of dismay upon her face. Amalia's eyes are wide and staring as she looks at his claws, his pale skin, his peaked appearance, knowing but wishing she could deny it, that somehow she could convince herself it is not true.

"You have it, don't you," Amalia murmurs, a sinking weight in the pit of her stomach. "Jigano... you have the Blight."
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there




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