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Discussion in 'Player Stories' started by Winterless, May 10, 2021.

  1. Winterless

    Winterless would never ERP Supremium
    1. Argost

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    [​IMG]
    Stuff I listened to whilst writing this.


    It was a place he always found himself in, when he dreamt. Cool sheets and idle winds giving way to still air and rough ground underfoot was nothing new to him, by now.

    Some details changed, and others remained constant. Sometimes he would be on a darkened stony shoreline, mountains looming like gods in the background. Other times it would be a ground of sleek black glass, with stormy clouds far above him. Sometimes it would be a cave. Invariably, silence reigned, and water would snake beneath his feet, or linger in the distance.

    This time it pooled beneath his boots, holding him to the earth like chains as he gained his bearings with a turn of the head. To describe the place he found himself in as a simple cavern would have demeaned its alien nature, sleek walls of black glass and grand tunnels, seemingly left by some old machine, greeting his growing vision in the gloom. Moonlight wafted carefully through eroded ports in the smooth ceiling, somehow too bright, and too little all at the same time. It was this silver light that guided his gaze to what lay ahead- poolings of water around his feet deepening to a large underground lake. Cool black water was framed by rocky outcrops- soldiers in a war against sea and stone that they were clearly losing.

    He stepped forwards at a careful pace, minding each step in the water to avoid a broken ankle, or worse. A left hand traced upwards, finding support against a glossy boulder. Smooth stone gave way to the crunch of gravel underfoot as he rounded the boulder, fingers running over the damp glass of the rock. A narrow shoreline presented itself, and his pace quickened in a bid to reach it.

    He was wary of water, in these dreams. It was a deceitful thing, bringing with it sea monsters to drag him beneath the black surface of the slow waves, or figments of painful memory he would rather forget. Some chose to be loud, and blatant. The crack of cannonfire. Scorched earth, and the smell of blood. Others, silent and quick. Pine forests. Frigid air. Opals, and starry eyes. A whispered click, click, click, in the gloom.

    Another constant detail revealed itself in turn as he moved through the crushed gravel of the shore, silver starlight weaving and dancing above the surface of the water like sand carried in desert wind. The starlight took the same form it always did: a near-human construction, but never unmistakably so. Either way, it was better than sea monsters, or forlorn memory. Slow steps moved towards it, and the figure began its dance anew, passing Wilvamair without so much as a pause.

    "--Excuse me, I've lost my way." he called out suddenly, the words leaving his mouth with little thought at all. It turned to face him, faceless and floating and discerning. Needless to say, he'd regretted it.

    Silly thing to lose. it replied after a short few moments of panic from Wilvamair, speaking into his mind in warbled tones. The figure faced him down, expectant.

    "I think I fell. Or--. I can’t recall.”

    The figure gave a near-whimsical shrug at that, breaking its faceless gaze and traipsing for one of the black glass walls. A moonlit hand traced idly along its surface, the act akin to a librarian scanning along the faded covers of countless tomes on an old bookshelf. After a moment of pause, it replied in a muse.

    Winged man. Always falling.

    Hardly incorrect, he knew. A small breath left him as boots dug idly into grey sand, crunching underfoot.

    “It gets that little bit harder, each time. Getting back up.”

    The figure paused its tracing, at that. To him, it seemed to be contemplating. And it did not stop contemplating for several drawn out moments, leaving him in silence. Eventually, it replied, accompanying its thoughts with a wave of the hand.

    So you choose to run.

    The opposite of incorrect. But he refused to admit that. Stubbornly, he replied.

    “I am not running. I just want time. "

    How much?

    "As much as I need."

    Nothing there for you.

    "You don't know that."

    Perhaps his indignance had stunned the figure into silence. A quiet silver flame exuded briefly from its form with an almost distressed countenance, though it hid it well, drifting back towards the sand.

    Torturing yourself. it muttered into his thoughts.

    Wilvamair glanced up from the gravel at that, greyed gaze wavering aslight into softer tones. Steel, into cloud. He opened his mouth to reply, but it gave him no room to do so.

    Remember. Standing.

    It sounded more resolute with that, drifting and floating consolidating into something purposeful as it turned, making its way towards him. Abruptly it grew speed, enough even to give him pause and take a step back. Though this too was folly, its moonlit form phasing through him like smoke through an open window. Black crept into the corners of his vision, and he fell once more.

    [​IMG]

    What greeted him was far more than dream. The air was clear, and old. The trees younger, and himself shorter. Memory. A long-forgotten tome in the library of his mind, brought to bear by the figure.

    A book lay in his lap, the ground beneath his feet coming into view. A cracked patchwork of centuries old tilework, scrawled and painted with the likeness of ancient heroes. The yellowed pages stood out from the tiles in the light; a knight in silver and green stood beautifully illustrated against a background of fields and pines. A book well-loved, he could only presume from the tight grip his chubby fingers maintained over it.

    A gnarled apple tree shaded him from the sun, and the faded marble bench upon which he sat. Such was his sanctum, he remembered. A place of beauty amidst a sea of ugly stone fortresses, and chambers hewn from bone. But as any Ward of Fae knew, no sanctum was safe from invasion forever.

    The song of bird and tree in the wind faded away, replaced unceremoniously with the thundering of coordinated steps on tiles.

    The first was tall, and thick-armed. Teal decorated his padded jacket, and silver-trimmed boots thudded their approach. Short black hair, and malice Wilvamair had thought impossible in a boy no older than thirteen. He was the leader.

    The second followed closely after, shorter and stockier than the first. The same teal covered his jacket, though this time with gold accenting, and red lacing. The boy's hair was a vibrant blonde that fell to his shoulders, a permanent sneer visible on his face.

    The third seemed the most normal of the bunch, a pleasant expression plastered on grey eyes and close fitting chestnut brown hair. Not quite as tall as the first, and not quite as stocky as the second. A wooden training sword hung lazily at his side.

    For reasons he could not remember, Wilvamair found himself scrambling to close the book, uncoordinated hands ducking behind the bench to hide the possession behind a stone leg.

    "Slinking around, are we?" the first boy asked as the group closed the distance, to the response of chuckles from the second.

    The beating of his heart intensified, at that. One sentence began his turn to fear as he gulped, shaking his head quickly.

    "No-- I was. I was getting an apple." he hastily replied, trying his best to hide his book with his legs.

    "You're too short to reach them." sneered the second.

    "Want some help?" the third spoke soon after, tone and features almost pleasant enough for him to believe them to be genuine.

    Wilvamair's greyed gaze began to flick left and right, as they began to surround his front in a half-circle. The exits were too far away, and he was trapped. Panic steadily grew as he rapidly shook his head once more, shrinking some against the bench, as if hoping the granite would swallow him.

    "Nah. I think he does, boys." spoke the first, crossing the distance with a single step and grabbing under his arm with an iron grip. A single pull and Wilvamair was forced off the bench, coming to a clumsy half-crouch on the ground. Panic grew to a blaring chorus as he squirmed against the far stronger grip of the older boy.

    "Let me-- let me go. I wasn't bothering anyone!" he cried out, to more chuckles from the three.

    "The Ithanian doesn't want to fight."

    "Typical."

    "I want to fight him."

    "Me too."

    The first boy's grip on him released, at those words. He wasted no time attempting his escape, rushing as fast as he could to the right. A swift kick to the back of his knee brought an end to those ambitions, sending him tumbling onto his side.

    The second trudged forwards, aiming a second kick for his gut that knocked what air remained in him. Frustrated tears began to well in his eyes as he lifted a hand in surrender, wailing out.

    "I yield! I yield!"

    "I decline, Ithanian." replied the leader simply, reaching for his collar to pull him to a stand, before aiming a punch for his midsection.

    Idle tears turned to outright crying as the blows continued, shame mixing with frustration. Arthair wouldn't cry.

    The vice grip on his collar remained in place, releasing all at once and sending him back onto his side on the ground.

    The taste of blood was clear in his mouth as he lifted his hands to cover his head, mumbling words he'd said a million times before into the pavement between sobs.

    "I yield. I yield."

    "-Hold it, lads. Found something." spoke the third, the second and first pausing the beating to look over to him. He could hear the boy crouch down, picking up something from behind the bench leg. A quiet chortle left the boy, and Wilvamair's tears began anew.

    "No!"

    "No what?" replied the third boy, roughly opening the book to a page and scanning the contents.

    "Don't take it. Please."

    "These are our people's fables. Not an Ithanian's." scoffed the first boy, the third giving a nod soon after and holding it teasingly in the air.

    "Come get it."

    He didn’t want to. It would mean more beatings if he tried. Maybe if he cowered long enough, they would drop the book. Hopefully.

    And so he lay, hands covering his head as the boys held up the book. And so he remained, even when he heard the rip of paper, and saw the page fall to earth. Then another. The silver and green knight was resplendent no longer, armour rent and tattered from the handiwork of the bullies. A knight would have stood. He knew it well, as did the illustration on the page, staring back at him.

    Maybe--. Maybe if he tried. Just once. The thought brought him to his hands and knees, and, after great effort, a stand. He reached forward with bruised hand to clasp the book, arm lifting as high as it could. Victory was short lived, with a second kick to the back of his knee sending him right back towards the tiling. But he’d stood- a vast improvement over days before.

    The second time came easier. Determination and gritted teeth took the place of tears as he rose once more, reaching faster now for the book. A second kick. He rose. A third. He rose again.

    On the fourth he rushed forwards after he took his stand, barreling forwards toward the boy with the book. The smug expression faded as Wilvamair charged into him, shorter and heavier than the older Page. Not enough to knock them over, but enough to drop the book. It fell into his hands with a thud, and he ran for the gap between the second and the third boy. The kick missed, and he cleared the gap. His oversmall shoes pinched at the sides of his feet as he rushed for the entrance, heartbeat thudding in his ears and breath far too short to hand.

    They knew better than to chase him. Private bullying could be overlooked by the Elders, and lies could be spun by the boys. Public bullying, on the other hand, was inexcusable. Wide cobble streets and looming grey stone greeted his frantic getaway, and the looming structure of the Prime Sepulchre stood high in the distance, far wiser and older than the stone houses around it that seemed childlike in comparison.

    Sprinting slowed to a tired and bruised walk as the danger of the boys faded, and his stamina caught up with him. He made it perhaps a dozen paces before that familiar feeling of black swept over him once more, and sunlit street was stolen away by cavernous gloom.

    "Why did you show me that?" he asked from his fallen position in the damp sand, back feeling the soak of the water held within it.

    To remember.

    "I cried. And I ran all the same."

    And you stood. Saved your book.

    He found that hard to refute. The boys had largely left him alone after that day, he knew. Probably because they found an easier target.

    "It's not the same. I'm not a child anymore." he huffed out stubbornly, hands and knees moving to pull him into a sit. A frustrated shake of his head at the memory cast his gaze far over the water, where it remained.

    There was no response, at that. The figure's hovering ceased, the crunching of gravel audible as he moved to a kneel beside him. Though, he dared not turn his gaze from the water. A hand, cold and lifeless, took his jaw, craning his vision toward the kneeler.

    Always looking away.

    "I don't know where else to look."

    It seemed to register those words. The frustration laced in his tone, and the flush of embarrassment at his realisation; perhaps he was still that child, beneath it all.

    Here. Forward. the figure offered, warbled and monstrous tone wavering into something distant and quiet, like rain on far away mountains. And, so too like the melting snow on those peaks, his stubbornness faded away, and he replied with a reluctant nod.

    "No more running."

    A poor imitation of laughter left the figure, moonlit digits lowering to straighten his collar, and hoist him to a stand. Facelessly it nodded in reply, and he knew he would be waking soon. Wilvamair glanced about at length, the armour of his usual stern tones faltering for just a moment as he asked the same question he always did.

    "..Can--. Will you be there tomorrow?"

    The hand at his collar tightened, but no response was given. He had stopped expecting one some time ago to that particular question. Yet, stubbornly, he kept asking it. Within an instant, he awoke. A rising red sun wafted through insignificant windows, and open sea air followed with it.

    ..It was going to be a long flight back to the city. At least he'd packed light.

    (Congrats if you made it to the end of this, it was probably a bit long. There were a number of things I wanted to write stories about so I figured I would mesh some of them into one.))
     
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  2. bwmwags3

    bwmwags3 Refugee

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    Beautiful work Winterless, seamless mix of stories into a wonderful narrative. One I’ve much enjoyed and one that speaks rather eloquent volumes of your character.
     
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  3. MyCatBubbles

    MyCatBubbles Massivecrafts Schizo Premium

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    Making me want to brush up on my writing and make some mad stories myself
     
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  4. Jalapeno690

    Jalapeno690 Doge of Helvetica

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  5. 5headgang

    5headgang

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    Im not reading this shit
     
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