Stars fading, but I linger on, dear


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#1
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
Time trickled strangely for the gods. Perhaps not quite as oddly as for the larger three and perhaps even Caido, but still, for the likes of those such as Safrin, passing the time here on the ground was more fluid than for the mortals. So it was that the goddess really hadn't much of an idea how much time had passed between when she entered the bakery and when Amalia arrived.

Hair knotted atop her head in messy but perfect waves, held there by pins of starlight and lilac, the goddess glanced over her shoulder as casual as any other customer might, flashing Amalia a smile. She was no ordinary customer of course—the way the small shop faintly hummed with Safrin's power and shone brightly with pinpoints of light scattered all around was more than enough evidence of this—but never the less she offered the baker a bemused smile as if she was nothing but.
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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
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#2
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
To find a bakery flush with stars takes the Shield's breath away.

She steps in carefully through the door, not sure if she is awake or in a dream. The space is beautiful, illuminated with starlight and saturated in power, but it is Safrin who draws the baker's eye, her attention captivated at once by the goddess seated at her table as though it were the most natural thing in the world.

There is a point in every interaction with Safrin where Amalia finds herself speechless, awed and humbled by the simple fact that the goddess would grace her with her time. Today is no different; there is reverence and ardor in her voice as she exhales the name of her starlit deity, trying to make sense of what's going on. "Safrin, I..."

She trails off, utterly lost for words.


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#3
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
'Come and sit.' Safrin suggests, inclining her head towards the chair opposite her. "I think perhaps it's time you and I had a little chat." And oh, what words could strike more fear into a heart than those? Though Safrin smiled, she knew it would do little to reassure Amalia and honestly, such wasn't her intention. The baker had been reckless as of late, and though Safrin knew the girl's piety was more than just surface-level, still...there was a trembling in the force, some generations in galaxies far, far, away might say.

And Safrin wasn't happy about it.
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#4
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
There is no gentle reassurance in Safrin's tone, no promise of forgiveness in her celestial smile. Amalia cannot help but swallow down a lump of sudden anxiety as she is invited to sit across the table, the implications of a chat whirling around her mind. But though she is anxious, though she worries, though she has been a foolish child, she trusts in the wisdom of the Old Gods.

So she does as she is told.

Settling onto the wooden bench, the Shield bows her head. "I... I'm sorry for how I acted, after..." She swallows, throat dry, the words dying in her throat. "Thank you for... for giving me back my legs. I'll try to do better next time."


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#5
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
'Well that's all I can ask of you, isn't it? To do better next time?" Safrin asked, her voice as sweet as cream and yet her eyes appeared just as cold as they had before. Perhaps cold wasn't quite the right word. Perhaps it was merely distance or judgement.

Watching as Amalia sat, Safrin leaned back slightly, her head inclined over one shoulder. "You seem as though you're...straying, Amalia. It isn't wandering, because you don't seem at all to be marvelling at the scenery of your life. There is a fight in you I'd not seen before, but it's rash and pointed in all directions. You'll kill yourself with it and those you hold dear before you're able to do any real damage or accomplish much."

Crossing her arms slightly, her eyes wandering the hills and crests of Amalia's features, Safrin regarded her in silence for a few long moments. "What has changed in you?"
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#6
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
How far away the goddess feels, though they are seated merely feet apart. Amalia's fingers clench tightly over the wood of her bench, opening and closing along with her throat at Safrin's gentle chiding. Gentle, but of course both of them know that gentle is worse. That the quiet disappointment leaves a greater impression than the gales of wrath ever could.

She cannot meet her goddess' eyes. What has changed in her? Licking her tongue over her lips, the baker tries to school the thoughts that dance so clearly over her face. "I... I don't know," Amalia admits, closing her eyes in a wince at the inadequacy of the words. Another pause, another breath. "My life... everything used to be so clear. I worked in the library. I baked. I prayed to you, and to Vi, and the Old Ones. I thought I knew what I was supposed to do, and I did it, and it made sense."

Tilting her head back up to Safrin, Amalia searches in the goddess' face for a comfort she knows she does not deserve. "Now it feels like nothing makes sense. Like I don't know who I'm supposed to be anymore. I, I still try, but I fail so often." She looks back at her hands, now resting on the table. "And every time it hurts so much."


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#7
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
All of this Safrin knew, but she allowed Amalia to go on. As the baker raised her eyes, she'd simply see a patient look on Safrin's face and the goddess's head nodding in a gesture of continue.

"You sound like Jigano, you know. Not as bad, but you're getting there." Safrin was not one to shy away from her true feelings nor of tough love when she thought it necessary. And just now there was more than enough wallowing about for her liking. "It hurts because you've let yourself think that you've control over far more things than you do. The world got bigger but you didn't, but you're acting as if you should have somehow. As if the Voice, the Blight, these portals...as if it somehow you're at all responsible for it."

Uncrossing her arms, Safrin merely sighs. "Every death you act like it was you who struck the final blow. Every failure you offer your life to make up for. When did you start living your life on a razor's edge Amalia, and more importantly, why?"
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#8
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
Safrin doesn't slap Amalia but she flinches nonetheless, more than aware of the deep contempt her goddess holds for the bard. Her eyes dart quickly back to the table, chastised and embarrassed because Safrin is right. Hadn't Amalia told Jigano that it wasn't his job to save the world?

"Shouldn't I have?" A genuine question, one she's wondered for some time. "Shouldn't I have done more? Become bigger? As a Portal Guardian, as a Shield - your Shield-" She falls silent, looking back at Safrin, hands helplessly outstretched. "People treat me like I'm supposed to be special, but I'm not. I'm just me."

As to why she's living so recklessly, why she keeps offering her life? "Because at least that way it will have meaning," Amalia admits, her voice low and harsh with the confession. "Because if I give my life away to save someone else's maybe I'll finally feel like I've done enough."


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#9
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
'Why? Who are you, Amalia Chandrakant, to save the world? Named Sheild by Vi, not saviour." As for those ridiculous baubles, the goddess merely sighs loudly at the ceiling, unable to give her true feelings about them just now. " There haven't been any more murders have there? No more sacrifices to open doors. Just a few unsightly shrines that we'd all prefer not to have, but.." She shrugs. "No blood."

Raising a surprised brow at this, Safrin holds back a laugh. "People. Your new outlander friends, I assume? How amusing it is that it's the Outlanders trying to champion a world that they've been in only for a matter of months." She replied, breathing out hostility that made the stars around them pulse faintly.

"Does it have meaning, Amalia?" Safrin asks, her skepticism tempered only just by interest as to what her Shield might say in reply. "Had you died over something ridiculous as a temple you know what they would have said? They'd have called you stupid for giving your life where dirt would have sufficed. They'd have said you could do more alive than you ever could dead."

Pushing back a lock of dark hair, the goddess simply shook her head softly. "You had a purpose before because you derived your meaning from us. From Vi. Now that you've set yourself out on your own path, guided by people brought here by the Voice with hardly any knowledge at all of our world, you're starting to act as if you play a role far larger in this world than you do. You know who else thought that way, long long ago?" Safrin pauses, blinking slowly just once.

"The Voice."
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#10
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
"I... I know all life has meaning, but..." She trails off, helpless. Safrin knows her better than any other, better than herself, and so she knows just what to say to crawl into Amalia's insecurities, to pull back the curtain and shed harsh, cold light on the things she would rather hide.

She sits beneath the weight of Safrin's honestly, her soul threatening to crumble and give way, and wonders if she can withstand this newest failure.

And then the greatest blow yet falls, and it steals Amalia's breath.

"No..." The hoarse whisper leaves her in a plea of desperation, her eyes turning up to Safrin helplessly. Has she really strayed so far, truly become so lost? The bakery feels like it is spinning around her, threatening to burst apart, or to collapse and bury her within. How could she have gone so wrong?

"I... I want to come home, Safrin. To you, and Vi, and the old ones. I don't want to be like the Voice. I don't want to be a savior or a hero or anything other than yours. I don't want to be lost anymore. Please... Please help me find the way."


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#11
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
"She went farther down the path than you could likely even fathom now, but this is how it started. Thinking herself somehow outside the fabric of this world. Her want to be more than she was, became an entitlement that ultimately made her what she is today. But it all starts here, in these moments of uncertainty, thinking that it is somehow you against the world."

Extending her hand across the table, palm up, Safrin looked pleadingly at Amalia. Her humanity, rarely shown, was on full display now. "Then come back to us, Amalia." She whispered, fingers searching for the baker's own that they might curl around them and close. "You are never alone, not even when death threatens to overwhelm you and you feel as though nothing will ever be right again. So long as you don't turn away from us, from me, never will there come a time that you were not named Sheild by Vi. Never will my stars not shine for you."
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#12
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
She listens raptly to the cautionary tale, hungry to learn more of the Voice's mistakes that she may avoid their replication. "Did you know her? Be... before? What happened, to make her... What she is?"

Safrin's fingers laced in hers are the anchor the Shield so desperately craves, tethers, ironically, to her own mortality, to the far-off hope that she might be enough. "I won't turn away."  An ardent promise, her soul in her voice and her face. The depth of her gratitude is immense; instead of crumbling she finds herself burning, a shimmer of the girl she'd once been revived.

Like a child whose faith in her parents is absolute, she turns adoring, pleading eyes to Safrin. "How do I get back to you? And Vi?"


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#13
sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
"I did, yes." The Voice's ascension to what she was now was not some back yard tale. She hadn't simply stepped out of the woodwork one day, corrupted and blistered to their cautions. " She thought she knew better than Rae in how they designed creation. In Mort when it came to when and how life should naturally end, and Vi in the ways in which life should begin, and under what conditions it should be allowed."

The table was suddenly gone and Safrin's arms were around Amalia, smoothing her hair and tracing star-patterns on her back. "Perspective, I think." The goddess whispers softly into Amalia's hair. "You are mortal Amalia, and we never think of you as anything but. We know you will make mistakes, that things will go wrong. We know your emotions are bright and chaotic at times. I am happy to hear you apologize when things don't go according to plan, but you must never apologize for who you are. That is what worries me most about...well, about the influences these Outlanders have on you. You'd never questioned your value or worth so strongly before they arrived.
but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me
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)
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#14
Amalia
a certain darkness is needed to see the stars
She curls against Safrin's chest the way she so often had with her grandmother, the way she never had with her mother, taking comfort in the attention of the goddess, the miraculously unfaltering love she does not deserve. With a shuddering sigh her shoulders relax, some of the tension easing away though much of it still remains. "Thank you, Safrin."

The influence of the Outlanders cannot be denied, and Amalia does not try to. It's hard, though, for her to pinpoint exactly what about them makes her feel so small. "Ever since they came... they make me feel smaller. Weaker," the Shield admits, biting her lip and trying not to let her envy spike. "Like because they're from other worlds they're somehow better than us. And it... it doesn't help that they're so strong, stronger than most of the Naturals, and they've changed so much in such a short time."

She falters a moment, her voice growing soft, aware of her childishness but unable to hide a secret from her goddess. "And... Frey is Phoebe Steadman's friend. Ludo gave Jigano a lantern and a song and the ability to guide spirits. Ronin... Ronin is an Outlander, but you chose him to place in the sky. To be beside you." There is a bitterness in her voice that she wishes she could hide, terrified that Safrin will reject her for her honesty and knowing it is pointless to try to conceal it.


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